| By Press Release
2019 Long Island Region Volunteer of the Year Hilary Bressler (center) with Team Long Island.


USTA Eastern Seeks Nominations for Annual Awards

With its annual awards, USTA Eastern honors those who have made remarkable contributions toward growing and promoting tennis at the grassroots level. Recipients are typically recognized in January during a ceremonial dinner at the Eastern Tennis Conference. Although 2020 has not been a typical year by any stretch, USTA Eastern still plans to honor the remarkable achievements of those within its community. These individuals and organizations will be celebrated at a date and in a format TBD.

The nomination form is available at USTA.com/EasternAwards. Individuals and organizations may be nominated for one of more than 20 awards, including Tennis Woman of the Year, Tennis Man of the Year, Tennis Family of the Year and Member Organization of the Year. All members of USTA Eastern's tennis community are encouraged to submit nominations for the different categories. Those making nominations are asked on the form to provide some brief biographical information on the person or organization being nominated and a short explanation outlining why the nominee deserves to be recognized. This information is very important to the selection process and will only take a few minutes to complete.

Tuesday Tennis in the Park Returns for Summer 2020

In addition to Tuesdays at Hempstead Lake State Park, the 65+ Mixed league plays on other days at The Tennis King in Great Neck. Pictured are: Front row: AnnMarie MacDonald, Nancy Rosenthal, Arthur Raskin, Jean Franklin, Peggy Gershon, Susan Dalessandro, MaryAnn Ferguson, Peggy Gluck. Rear row: Jim Friscia, Charlie Kaplan, Marshal Hubsher, Stan Froelich, Anna MacKay, Bob Nathan, Michael Ferguson, Howie Schoor, Al Silverstein

When Al Silverstein returned from Florida in early June during the COVID-19 pandemic, he immediately reached out to Sue D’Alessandro, his co-coordinator and co-creator of  the 65-and-over USTA Mixed League that plays out of Hempstead Lake State Park in the summer. 

“We discussed the need to provide an avenue for players to get out of quarantine and pursue the sport that they loved,” said Silverstein. “We weighed the need to play against the dangers of a group activity. When we finally got the green light from the State in early July to resume play, the response was enormous. While all of our players were eager to get out and play, the overall level of play was challenging as many of our players had not played for three or even four months; frustration reigned supreme!”

Silverstein added: “But that has changed now because tennis is very important to people who are retired. Indeed, the future of tennis is in the hands of those who later in life have the time to work on their game as a craft.”

He cited as evidence the vast number of players who joined the USTA Mixed League for players 65 and over this summer and the number of players who regularly play on Tuesdays.

Now in its third season, the league has 50 registered participants who play matches three days a week. With a dozen matches already played, the league intends to continue into the winter months. Al says Tuesday Tennis in the Park regularly attracts over 30 mask-wearing players per session.

“USTA 65+ team tennis is especially important for seniors during our Nation's current pandemic,” said Bob Nathan, Men's USTA 65+ Team Captain from Bethpage. “Like all people, seniors need exercise, and because tennis is rated by most sports authorities as ‘the safest’ during COVID 19, it is wonderful to have a sport that creates a positive mental attitude while enhancing physical wellness. The social benefits of senior tennis are also wonderful to behold.

“Tennis, by its nature, is conducive to social distancing. Health and safety is paramount, and tennis comes second, but once that first box is checked, and it's deemed safe, it's the perfect sport for all of us to participate in, coming out of our nations' current health challenge. The USTA released tips and recommendations for playing tennis safely, based on guidance from the USTA Medical Advisory Group. Our Long Island 65+ USTA 8.0 league honors those guidelines,” Nathan said.

According to League participant Pat Molloy:

 "Playing tennis with our 65+ Mixed Doubles group brings a sense of normalcy, health, camaraderie, accomplishment and inspiration to these difficult times. I smile when I look around at our large number of tennis players and see athletes who still enjoy playing, staying fit, improving their evolving game, being inspired by great play and learning from each other. What is really special is the laughter emanating from the courts after some great and not-so-great points! Tennis has always served as a distraction from life’s difficulties but it’s particularly helpful now when we can focus on our game, enjoy our friends and laugh at ourselves instead of thinking about Covid-19, personal concerns and societal problems."

USTA Eastern Long Island Regional Council

Executive Committee

►Jonathan Klee, Regional Director

►Michael Pavlides, Past Regional Director

►Sunny Fishkind, Vice Regional Director

►Randi Wilkins, Secretary