| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff











Two “Legendary Leaders”—106th New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins and Hall of Fame tennis coach Nick Bollettieri – spoke from their hearts about their love for children at New York Junior Tennis & Learning (NYJTL) 31st Annual Leadership Awards Luncheon, which raised nearly $500,000 to support NYJTL’s free community tennis programs throughout New York City.

Both Mayor Dinkins and Bollettieri stressed to the sellout crowd of more than 300 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel that the most important legacy they will leave is their commitment to ensuring that all children will have the opportunity to be the best they can be in life.

Bollettieri, who has coached 10 world #1 players including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, and Monica Seles, among others, received the organization’s annual Leadership Award, which was presented to him by previous recipient Tennis Channel Chairman and CEO Ken Solomon. Consistent with his message that children should have the opportunities to be the best they can be, Bollettieri announced that IMG Academies will donate two one-week scholarships to the IMG Academy summer tennis camp, and Bollettieri contributed $1,000 to cover transportation expenses for the NYTJL participants.

Immediately, an additional $1,000 towards expenses was contributed by an NYJTL supporter in the audience. Social justice pioneer and sports icon Billie Jean King, also a previous recipient of the NYJTL Leadership Award, presented a special NYJTL Lifetime Achievement Award to Mayor Dinkins, who was the Leadership Award recipient in 1986. Dinkins is best known in worldwide tennis circles for signing a 99-year lease between the City of New York and the US Open guaranteeing the event will stay in New York City for the foreseeable future.

“Our honorees, Mayor David N. Dinkins and Nick Bollettieri, truly embody our values and are so deserving of our Leadership Awards,” said NYJTL Chairman Martin Goldberg.

NYJTL also recognized the accomplishments of two current participants. The student honorees were Christina Huynh, recipient of the NYJTL Achievement Award, and Brandon Torres, recipient of the Irwin Askenase Sportsmanship Award.

“We are grateful to everyone who attended NYJTL’s 31st Annual Leadership Awards Luncheon to support our enduring commitment to transforming the lives of young people through tennis and education,” said Dr. Deborah Antoine, President and CEO, NYJTL. “Together, each of us plays an important role in what I have come to think about as the great Relay Race for Good.”

Lawrence B. Benenson and The Frances and Benjamin Benenson Foundation have underwritten the luncheon since its inception. All revenues directly benefit NYJTL programs. Luncheon co-chairs were Benenson, Fay Ann Lee, Peter Malkin, and Polly Scott.

Additional major sponsors included Golden Slam sponsor, the John Arnhold Family, and Grand Slam sponsors: Wendy and Douglas Eisenberg, Elena and Tory Kiam, and Mara and Ricky Sandler. Ace Sponsors were: Caryn and Craig Effron, Deborah Slaner Larkin, Polly Scott and Jim Maher, Peter Malkin (The Malkin Fund), May & Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., Sidney Migdon (Goldfarb & Fleece), Jill and Mark Rachesky, Aaron Jungreis (Rosewood Realty Group), and Steven Simkin (Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP).

Two live auction items for US Open invitations to the USTA President’s box and the Tennis Channel suite raised more than $20,000.