| By Brian Coleman


Dealing with and overcoming adversity is something that all tennis players must deal with. As you go through your tennis career, whether it is tough training sessions or difficult matches against strong opponents, all players are required to overcome obstacles if they want to be successful. 

For Ty Nisenson, that adversity began at an extremely young age, and has laid the foundation for who he is today. Nisenson was born premature, arriving into this world 26 weeks early and weighing less than two pounds.

“My wife was due on December 11, but we awoke in the middle of the night on September 11 when my wife’s water broke,” said David Nisenson, Ty’s father. “Hours later, I found myself in the delivery room with a full staff of doctors wondering if Ty was going to make it. Once the delivery was successful, he required two blood transfusions to basically save his life, and the only blood match in our family to get this done was my dad, Ty’s grandfather.”

Steve Nisenson, Ty’s grandfather, was an all-American basketball player at Hofstra who was drafted by the New York Knicks.

“We always joke about Ty’s competitive spirit because he has my dad’s blood,” David added.

As Nisenson continued to grow, however, his tennis journey would slowly begin. He would often accompany his father, David, and uncle, Brett, who were teaching professionals at Point Set Indoor Racquet Club in Oceanside.

Ty with his Uncle Brett (left) and father, David (right), after winning a tournament when he was younger


“I was always with them at the club,” he recalls. “I really loved to be on the court and that’s where my love for the sport began. We had an old squash court there, and I would rally thousands of balls a day off the wall while my dad and uncle were on-court teaching. When they were done, I would go to the tennis court and train with them.”

So from an early age, Nisenson was engulfed in the world of tennis, and would soon begin playing in Point Set’s 10-and-under program. He already had a head start in his tennis development with all of those hours spent hitting against the wall and the private instruction from his dad and uncle.

“The combination of training on court and hitting on that wall really built my rally consistency to a very high level,” he said. “I was very lucky to have Point Set at my disposal because indoor tennis is very expensive, and I had the opportunity to play whenever I wanted to for free.”

When it came time to decide who would be Nisenson’s primary coach in his training, the family decided that his Uncle Brett would take the lead with his dad more in a supporting role.

“They thought that dynamic would work best—like Rafa and Uncle Toni,” Nisenson says, a bit tongue-in-cheek.

And that dynamic did work as Nisenson climbed up the USTA junior rankings and became the top-ranked player in the Eastern Section in the 10-and-under division. As he grew older, he was able to stay atop the rankings in the 12s and 14s divisions, which is when he and his family came to a decision to help further his tennis development.

“My uncle and I decided to move down to Florida, so at this time I kind of stopped playing junior tournaments, and was focusing on a lot of training and working on my game, as well as building my fitness level,” said Nisenson. “This was such a great move because training outdoors in that heat made a huge difference in my conditioning. If you really want to find out what your made of, train in Florida for a summer. My game has a lot to do with my athleticism, and in indoor tennis you can get away without much defending if you have a big serve or forehand, but outdoor tennis requires a good amount of defending and it’s more difficult to hit through players. And that really suits my game style.”

For the last few years, Nisenson has put his body to the test training in the Florida heat, and he says he has noticed a drastic difference in the shape he is in, and how it has helped him prepare for matches. He regularly competes in a UTR tournament called the Battle of Boca, which is close to where he trains, and the event features top college players and top juniors, as well as players with ATP rankings.

“Competing in this environment has really helped my game progress because you get some real quality matches,” said Nisenson. “My best result there was making the semifinals. I have seen players from the Northeast, who train mostly indoors, come down to Florida for tournaments and don’t have great results. Indoor tennis is just different.”

That conditioning has become a staple of Nisenson’s game, and his dedicated work ethic has been on full display throughout his tennis journey. He is always looking to test his tennis abilities in other settings and learn from other tennis styles.

“I recently traveled to India to train at Neon Tennis Academy which is run by a good family friend and coach Suresh Maurya,” said Nisenson. “I was there for a month and it was a great experience. I plan on going back again soon to train there and travel to nearby countries to compete in ITF events.”

While his game has taken off since being in Florida and competing in other parts around the world, the foundation for his success was laid from an early age. He knows just how much those early, formidable years have helped make him the person and player he is today.

“All the coaches at Point Set, including Tonny van de Pieterman and Claudio Eulau, as well as club manager Lori Sarnelli, always supported me and helped me as much as they could. It was always a real family atmosphere,” said Nisenson. “The coaches all came from different backgrounds and have different strengths, that combination was a huge help in my development as a player.”

Nisenson is now ready to take the next step in his tennis career, and has goals of continuing to compete in ITF events and prize-money tournaments. He and his family are many years removed from the adversity they endured in the first moments of his life, but have never forgotten what it took to get Ty to where he is today.

“Ty came into this world as a fighter, and he has really kept that fighting spirit on the tennis court throughout his whole career,” said David. “I have never seen him give up or tank a match, and it’s a real testament to who he is as a competitor and a person.”


Brian Coleman

Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for Long Island Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com