New York City is often praised for its toughness and resiliency. The nearly nine million citizens appreciate a good redemption story. As the city is littered with the tales of sports teams overcoming adversity, people being down, but not out, and other trials and tribulations of life in the big city. Queens College has its own redemption story playing out presently, with the re-opening of the newly-renovated, indoor tennis bubble on its campus in Flushing.
The white-clothed bubble, sitting adjacent to the Long Island Expressway, served the local tennis community for years as a safe-haven for zealot players and beginners alike. However, the improbable happened in 2009, when a storm ripped through the area and took the bubble with it as it laid its force upon the area. The improbable had happened and the tennis community was left reeling, but shortly thereafter, the impossible trumped the improbable as another storm ravaged Queens and took the repaired bubble away a second time.
Not only did the bubble signify a loss in revenue for the College, but it also impacted the members of the nationally-ranked, Queens College Knights tennis teams, who called the place home. Senior Daniela Celi, remembered the day, “You don’t fully appreciate something as seemingly unimportant as where you play your matches.” She went on, “That was how the entire team felt. We saw our home taken from us in less than 15 minutes.”
The Knights persevered, however, continuing on with limited play on their six pristine, outdoor courts. They alternated time on those courts between rentals and the two teams. It severely hampered the revenue from renting court time, and provided an additional obstacle for the Knights tennis teams to overcome.
After the initial impact of the damage had hit, the Queens College community did what countless New Yorkers had done and continue to do, they dug in their heels, rolled up their sleeves, and began the rebuilding efforts. The renovations, spearheaded by former Vice President of Student Advancement Sue Henderson, surpassed $2.1 million and took nearly two years for completion, but on a quiet day in 2012, the indoor tennis bubble at Queens College opened its doors to the public, once again.
Now the facility is thriving, offering the metropolitan tennis community a beacon for tennis lovers. The facility has ongoing private lessons, court space and tournaments available for rental and participation. In fact, many tennis professionals choose to hold their lessons in the newly renovated space. Its boasts six new hard court surfaces, bleachers for spectators and fans, a safe-climate controlled environment and easy access from anywhere in the city.
Fans looking for year-round tennis need to look no further than Flushing, Queens, in the shadow of Arthur Ashe Stadium. Under the auspices of Head Tennis Professional and Men’s Head Coach Wayne Martin and Assistant Tanni Scott, the bubble is home to year-round tennis; whether it is the cold days of winter or the sultry days of summer. In either case, players will be tucked neatly into the weather-controlled facility. Groups, schools, or individuals wishing to rent the courts for an event or tournament are encouraged to call the Tennis Center at (718) 997-2771 or visit www.queensknights.com/tennis.
Flushing, Queens, is considered the home of tennis in New York City. With the U.S. Open played nearby—seemingly closer than a forehand winner—fans congregate to the borough in late summer to see the top players in the world compete and witness great comebacks. Well, those fans need to look at the Queens College tennis bubble, where, like its nine million brethren, it went through its own redemption story and won the biggest comeback of its career.