What do you believe will be the impact of the new Sportime at Randall’s Island on tennis in the New York area?
I hope we are one of the major contributors to growing the game of tennis in New York. I grew up in New York, and I was a poor kid who played tennis in the parks. Nowadays, it is not as easy to do that as there are almost no courts in Manhattan. It is ironic that there is the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, home of the greatest tournament in the world, and then in the rest of the city, you have to scrap to play or pay a lot for court usage. This facility is a public/private partnership, and as a result, we have invested $16 million and have at least 20 years to stay here. Our pricing is affordable and we have a lot of no-cost programs for underprivileged kids.
What level of tennis will this facility focus on?
Our commitment is at every level of the sport. We hope to have a great impact, and so far, it looks like we will be very busy. We will host hundreds of USTA Tournaments as well as the New York Sportimes home matches.
What do you think this WTT season and the opening season of Sportime at Randall’s Island will bring?
The New York Sportimes and the Randall’s Island Sports Foundation are thrilled to bring the fun and excitement of WTT action back to the New York. New York is the home of our star, the great John McEnroe. New York City is also the long-time home of WTT’s co-founder and inspiration, Billie Jean King. We cannot wait to make Billie Jean proud and to show New Yorkers what WTT is all about. We just need to get the word out more and emerge from the shadows of the U.S. Open. The U.S. Open is the best tournament in the world, but WTT is more intimate and more affordable than the Open.
Do you feel tennis on Long Island is heading in the right direction?
Tennis, in general, is going in the right direction. I think tennis is steadily growing. Junior tennis is very healthy. With adult tennis, we need more people in their 30s and 40s, and we are working on that. Here in New York, the U.S. Open is huge and the sport is strong amongst families.
What are your thoughts about tennis coverage in the media?
The key for our sport is to become more of a national and international story that is covered by the mainstream media. We have less coverage as a sport in newspapers and we need to find a way to be seen more nationally.
How do you feel about the importance of regional tennis publications to the world of tennis?
I love reading your publication because I get a sense of what people are doing. I know the pros giving tips. I know the club owners placing ads. We, of course, tend to advertise/promote in tennis publications, but to me, what’s important with the publications is that I want to not only speak to current players, but also to the person who has stopped playing or has yet to get started. Obviously, I love having Long Island Tennis Magazine. Everyone on Long Island reads it. It’s in every club and it’s become our Bible now!”