| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff


Last year, Gabe Bursztyn sat and watched as his older brother, Aron, and Shashank Pennabadi won the Suffolk County Doubles title. An injury in the early part of the season sidelined the Ward Melville junior for the remainder of last spring.

But being the ideal teammate that he is, Bursztyn supported his team throughout the year, and then put in the work in the offseason to get himself ready for this year.


“I was so proud of the way he handled it last year,” said Ward Melville head coach Erick Sussin. “He understood that it was the end of his season, but he continued to support us and cheer us on. He waited for his moment and it paid off. I find it remarkable that he had the patience and faith that he could come back and do it this year.”

That culminated on Tuesday afternoon at Smithtown East High School, he and Pennabadi won the Suffolk County doubles championship, defeating Westhampton Beach’s Sandro Volpe & Bobby Stabile 7-5, 6-1.

“Being sidelined last year, sitting and watching, made me want this that much more,” said Bursztyn, who won the county title back in 2021 alongside Matt Kronenberg. “It was a lot of motivation, I had to work hard, and do a lot to get my body back in shape, but it was worth it to be able to accomplish our goal.”

The chemistry between Bursztyn & Pennabadi was on full display during Tuesday’s final, as the pairing communicated extremely well, a crucial aspect of a successful doubles team.

“We use hand signals in tennis but these two, like any good doubles team, almost read each other’s minds,” added Sussin. “Gabe was off for basically a year and didn’t miss a step, while Shashank beings that energy and confidence, and high expectations anytime he takes the court.”

Pennabadi has now won consecutive county doubles title, and done so with a different Bursztyn in back-to-back years.

“It’s amazing, a great feeling. I can’t wait to back to states,” he said. “We train a lot together, played in group lessons growing up, so we just have a great chemistry together.”

Bursztyn said of Pennabadi:

“He’s a really good player, great hands at the net, power from the baseline, and we know each other’s games really well. We’re able to move around freely and know where the other is going to be. This is the first time going to states for me, so I’m excited and there should be some great tennis.”


“It’s about starting back at square one,” Sussin said of preparing for the state tournament. “You don’t know who these other teams are yet, and we expect to get a high seed, but we have the mentality that there is always a team out there better than us so we remain focused. I hope they stay humble and do the same things they’ve done to get to this point, and let their talent take them the rest of the way.”

The Westhampton Beach pairing of Stabile & Volpe qualified for the state tournament via their runner-up finish, as did the Hills East duo of Krithik Madisetty & Lohit Madisetty, who defeated James Yu & Joe Romito of Commack in the third-place match.

Westhampton Beach’s Sandro Volpe & Bobby Stabile

The NYSPHSAA Championships are set for Thursday, June 2 through Saturday, June 4 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. 

Hills East's Lohit Madisetty & Krithik Madisetty