By Kevin Biggiani
Tennis players, fans, aspiring athletes, or anyone looking to have a fun day should take the opportunity to attend the New York Tennis Expo whenever it is in town.
The New York Tennis Expo was recently held at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on February 9th. This event was a prelude to the Association of Tennis Professions New York Tennis Open, which recently concluded on February 16, with Kyle Edmund of Great Britain winning the championship. The Expo is the largest event of its kind in the United States, and it does not cost anything to attend. Hard to believe, but yes, the Expo is free to attend!
When you walk through the Expo there are various booths promoting vacations, tennis equipment and tennis club memberships. There were also booths unrelated to tennis selling windows and walk-in-bathtubs. There was a Kids Zone, which featured fun activities for children such as throwing Nerf balls and playing on a beach tennis arena. There was a tennis serving booth in which people could hit a serve and find out the speed of their serves. There were even a New York Islanders Slapshot booth, many raffle prizes and give-a-ways.
On the educational side, there was a round table held for guests to listen to the advice and experiences of famous tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, who coached many tennis greats like Andre Agassi and professional tennis player Jack Sock, who is a grand slam doubles champion. The audience made up of parents and students was captivated as Bollettieri, Sock and other panel members shared their wealth of experiences about coaching a professional athlete and the extreme dedication it takes to become a professional athlete and remain at that level. There was even a question and answer session. Jack Sock was asked whom he found to be the most difficult players to play against on the tennis tour. He immediately replied, “Federer, Djokovic and Nadal” but singled out Federer as the toughest “because he puts so much pressure on you and gives you so little time to react on the tennis court” when you play against him. In a touching moment a female guest said she always wanted to hug Jack Sock, and he obliged by giving her a very warm embrace to the delight of the crowd.
All day long guests were able to get autographs from the tennis professionals. In addition, there was a gallery set up where attendees were able to get photographs with Bollittieri, Sock and the other tennis professionals.
A special part of the day for this writer, who also plays tennis competitively, was that guests were able to watch the professionals practice on the famous black tennis courts on which the tennis matches for the tournament are played. Attendees were treated to a match between players trying to qualify for the tournament.
The next time the NY Tennis Expo is in town, take advantage of a fantastic event and learn from experienced professionals.
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