| By Long Island Tennis Magazine Staff
Credit photos to Sidney Beal III/LI Tennis Magazine


The New York Beach Tennis (NYBT) Summer Series kicked off on Sunday, June 24 at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury as guys and girls took to the club’s pristine sand courts to compete in the summer’s first tournament: The Battle on the Beach.

As an internationally sanctioned tournament by the International Federation Beach Tennis (IFBT), world ranking points were on the line and the players competed like it. In the early morning there were clouds but they soon gave way to sun and the fun began. 

All throughout the day, players could enjoy the beautiful Crest Hollow pool and had great food served by the club’s waiters and waitresses. NYBT supplied entertainment including beach games like Cornhole, Kan-Jam and Spikeball so players could relax and have fun in between their matches. DJ Curtis McCalla (DJCM) kept the energy going all day and Jamba Juice setup a tent to give out free smoothies to keep players refreshed and hydrated.

After an exciting round of pool play in the morning, the knockout rounds began in the afternoon. Marcia Balbinot and Julia Koulbitskay took on Sara Burinato and Ivana Andric. While experienced beach tennis players, this was the first time that Balbinot and Koulbitskay played as partners, and they quickly found their chemistry as they defeated Burinato and Andric in straight sets to win the championship.

“We played well together,” said Koulbaskaya. “We were able to win and had a great time too!”

“We thought we were very consistent throughout the day and tried to fight for every point,” said Burinato. “But it was a really long day, and our first beach tennis tournament, so that became tougher to do in the final.”

On the men’s side, NYBT Founder David Sickmen and his partner Alex Pop-Moldovan took on Matt Garavaglia and Brad Berger in the finals. Sickmen and Pop-Moldovan are the all-time wins leader in NYBT history, and shoed why with a 6-2, 6-4 victory to take the title. 

"Alex came in for the weekend from Florida and it’s always a pleasure playing with him,” said Sickmen. “We hadn’t played together since February but we played well when we needed to.

Overall, the tournament went great! We are very sensitive to keeping everything lively and moving. As the organizer but also a player, I know it’s vital to create a tournament environment that keeps people coming back. Our group is very close, and has fun on and off the court together. And we keep getting bigger!”

Balbinot echoed those sentiments:

“Good spirits and good friends. That’s what it’s about,” she said. “It is a great environment to get great people and players together and play all day long. We call it our beach tennis family. The energy is amazing and the weather was perfect.”

A special thanks to our host club, Crest Hollow CC, for use of its beautiful club and to the great staff for all of their assistance. And thank you to our sponsors for their prizes, giveaways, overall support and for simply being a part of our great day on the sand: Sportime, John McEnroe Tennis Academy, The New York Open, GF Sports,  New York Empire, My Game Solutions, Inphorm, 30fifteen, Jamba Juice, PGA Superstore.

The next tournament is the NYBT Open, which is set for this Saturday, July 14 at Crest Hollow.

CLICK HERE to see more photos from the Battle on the Beach.