Back and better than ever, the New York Tennis Expo returned to NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 9, with more than 5,000 people coming out for an all-day celebration of tennis as Long Island and New York Tennis Magazines joined forces with GF Sports to kick off the second year of the New York Open with the largest tennis expo in the country.
The event would not have been possible without the support of the community, and especially all of those who attended.
“The sixth New York Tennis Expo was our best yet! Each year, as our publications grow, our relationships with the community and attendance at all of the events we host does as well,” said David Sickmen, Publisher of Long Island and New York Tennis Magazines. “I’m most proud of how everyone came together in the community from juniors to adults, from high school teams to college teams, from teaching pros to businesses, so that everyone was a part of this big tennis day. Our event partners for the second year in a row, GF Sports and NYCB LIVE, were vital in their support and, at the end of the day, everyone was smiling.”
The Expo had something for everyone … whether young or old, tennis fan or non-tennis fans, there were activities and games for all to enjoy. Tooty and the Mother Pluckers provided live music, as attendees entered the event with their eclectic mix of Pop, Classic Rock, RnB and Latin music, while DJ CM brought his high energy all-day long inside the Expo Hall.
The 2019 New York Tennis Expo featured on-court clinics with local college programs, Adelphi, Farmingdale State, Nassau Community College and NYIT, along with special guest Nick Bollettieri, as kids and adults stepped out onto the Stadium and Grandstand Courts to play.
“We had little kids, college kids and even parents on the court with us. It was good to answer many of the questions parents had about things like how to judge their children as players. It was a great turnout,” said Bollettieri. “It couldn’t have been better. The crowd was fantastic. I did about three or four clinics, and the enthusiasm of both the kids and adults was outstanding.”
Throughout the day, players of all ages and levels got to learn from some of the best college tennis players in the area through drills, match play and lessons, and were joined by Bollettieri who shared the insight and knowledge that has made him one of the sport’s most revered coaches.
“The 2019 New York Tennis Expo was a gift to Long Island Tennis and an incredible event because it had something for everyone,” said Steve Kaplan, Owner and Managing Director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, and a sponsor of the Expo. “If you love tennis and live on Long Island this is THE event to support and attend."
Players from the New York Open took the time to sign autographs and take pictures with attendees. Andy Roddick and Steve Johnson conducted Meet & Greets with guests, while Johnson and Peter Polansky joined industry leaders to discuss their tennis careers in interactive Speaker Sessions.
The crowd to meet Roddick wrapped around the Broadcast Plaza area, as adults and kids alike came on stage to get an autograph and take a picture with the American tennis great.
The panels, which were headlined by Bollettieri, Johnson, Polansky and Luke Jensen, and featured top local coaches, discussed everything from junior tennis to the professional ranks, and sparked intriguing conversations for audience members to engage in during the two Coaches Roundtable Live segments. Guests were able to ask questions to the panelists which resulted in interactive discussions in both the morning and afternoon speaker sessions.
Inside the Expo Hall, attendees had the opportunity to kick off their shoes and step onto the sand in the Beach Tennis Arena, while the 10 & Under mini-court was packed with young tennis players all-day long. The Activity and Kids Zone had a bouncy house, inflatable pop-a-shot game, thanks to the Long Island Nets; and a Speed Serve Booth, presented by SPORTIME; not to mention the more than 70 exhibitors who had their products and services on display.
“USTA Eastern was proud to sponsor the Net Generation Court which was filled throughout the day by children who were able to pick up a racket and play red and orange ball tennis, many for the first time,” said Jonathan Klee, USTA Eastern LI Regional Director. “It’s this type of fun grassroots tennis which helps us to grow the game.”
The newest gear and tennis apparel was put on display thanks to multiple companies and brands, as local high school players showed off the latest tennis outfits, hats, shirts and other gear in the Tennis Fashion Show.
For the second straight year, the Expo served as the opening event for the New York Open, which brought professional tennis right here onto Long Island. The tournament featured some of the world’s best players, including John Isner, Frances Tiafoe and the Bryan Brothers, and served as the home of young American Reilly Opelka’s first career ATP Tour title. The Wolfpack Ninja obstacle course was operating during the Expo and was a popular activity for guests as they tested their athletic prowess with the help of trained instructors.
“The collaboration between the New York Tennis Expo and New York Open resulted in record-breaking attendance for the Expo and a perfect kick-off to the tournament’s calendar of week long events,” said Josh Ripple, Executive Vice President of GF Sports and New York Open Tournament Chairman. “Our mutual objective was to provide the community with a family-friendly and free platform for people to learn about the great sport of tennis. For Expo/Open 2.0, we undoubtedly met and exceeded the metrics we set for success, and we look immediately to build bigger and better in 2020.”
Sickmen added, “With a crowd of more than 5,000, vendors and sponsors were thrilled with the enthusiasm. This platform created a way for all the supporting businesses to be successful. We believe everyone involved with the event, including tennis as a whole, was a winner!”
Click Here to see more photos from the 2019 New York Tennis Expo.