Bring Out Your A-Game on These Top Westchester Tennis Courts

String those racquets and lace up those sneaks because Westchester County boasts all the right courts, clubs, instruction, and gear!



Westchester is a tennis lover’s paradise. Whether you’re a hacker who wants to throw on a sweatshirt and bash the ball around, a junior with Grand Slam dreams, or a mixed-doubles tandem who join teams hoping to advance to national playoffs (or simply for the post-match beer and wine), Westchester has everything you need.

Want proof? The United States Tennis Association is enthusiastically headquartered here, in White Plains. “USTA Leagues have really grown and prospered in Westchester, and we’re thrilled,” reports Jenny Schnitzer, executive director and CEO of USTA Eastern.

She has every right to be thrilled. Westchester County has the leagues, venues, teachers, surfaces, and merch to make tennis your lifelong athletic companion — and it’s never too early, or too late, to get started.

Here’s where to make the most of it in your own backyard — literally or figuratively.

 

Saw Mill Club

77 Kensico Dr, Mount Kisco

www.sawmillclub.com

We try to work as one big team, understanding that our common goal is changing everybody’s life for the better through tennis,” says Saw Mill Club tennis director Zuka Mukhuradze. A lofty aim, but the staff here consistently works hard to instill solid technique and a love of the game in all players. Adults can participate in a variety of clinics and compete in a number of different leagues, both in-house and interclub. Sessions are scheduled during convenient day and evening timeslots. For juniors, Mukhuradze started the Edge program, catering to those with serious tennis ambitions. The Edge’s success recently spawned the more intensive Edge Elite, a select unit from within the Edge program, that provides additional instruction and tournament play, off-court fitness training, and even a sports psychologist. “The mental part of this game is monumental,” Mukhuradze explains. “For these young competitors, it can be stressful. We want to provide them with all the support they need, to have a healthy, positive effect on each child’s development.” This pretty, membership-required fitness facility boasts 13 hard courts, indoor and outdoor pools, exercise classes, and a restaurant. “It really is amazing here,” says Mukhuradze. “It’s a home-away-from-home for all of us.”

• Advantage, Saw Mill: on-site childcare, physical therapy and massage, summer poolside bar

 

Yonkers Tennis Center

493 Sprain Rd, Yonkers

www.yonkerstennis.com

Yonkers Tennis Center players win a lot of tennis matches. Championship banners line the walkway leading up to the club’s front door. But while these victories speak to the success of YTC programs, they “are not what we do this for,” insists tennis director Tendai Kuwaza. “What’s more important,” he says, “is watching players walk off the court after a match and not knowing if they’ve won or lost, because they had such a good time.” Don’t think for a minute, though, that he doesn’t take the game seriously. A former Division 1 college player, Kuwaza has invented a refined approach to teaching called D.A.T., or Development Appropriate Tennis. This holistic philosophy, used with adults and juniors, incorporates fitness, sportsmanship, and technical prowess with an emphasis on deliberate contact of the ball. The end result: players with extremely solid skillsets and great attitudes, he says. The facility has six indoor hard courts and programs to suit all levels. YTC also emphasizes community outreach. As part of its Coach Pat Project (the late Pat Rogers was a beloved coach here), YTC pros teach tennis at schools throughout Yonkers, working with a grant from the USTA.

• Advantage, YTC: no membership required, social mixers on Fridays, philanthropic events, such as Tennis Serving Vets

 

These Are the Most Common Court Surfaces in Westchester 

Whether you’re an experienced ace or a relative rookie, the court surface underneath you can affect your game dramatically and, possibly, how you feel post-match.
Here’s a roundup of the most common surfaces found in Westchester and how they play.

 

Hard Courts

Generally consisting of an asphalt-and-concrete base sealed with an acrylic layer, hard courts play fast. Big servers approve because the ball rebounds quickly, giving returners less time to react. Points are thankfully shorter, as long matches on this type of court can put stress on the body. A more forgiving hard surface, Plexicushion courts, found at the Australian Open, as well as many local tennis clubs, incorporate at least one layer of rubber granules for extra shock absorption.

 

Har-Tru

First developed in 1931 by Henry Alexander Robinson (H.A.R.), this popular green-clay surface is somewhat soft and therefore easier on the knees, ankles, and hips. Absorbing more energy from the ball than a hard court, slower Har-Tru allows for longer, more well-constructed points. (Read: tricky players have more time to frustrate you with their annoying drop shots.) HydroCourts are self-watering Har-Tru courts.

 

Red Clay

Slower still, red clay (made from crushed brick and shale) is most commonly found on courts in Europe, where the substance is more abundant. Used at the French Open, the surface favors those who grew up playing on it (looking at you, Rafael Nadal), perfecting the clay-court slide. Balls also bounce higher, making clean winners elusive. For those seeking the clay-court experience: Sportime Harbor Island in Mamaroneck has eight.

 

Grass

The fastest, and least common, surface locally, grass favors power. The ball skids off the close-cropped grass, leading to notoriously low bounces. A hard serve will often whiz past even the most alert opponent. This living surface, upon which Wimbledon is played, is the most expensive to maintain. Westchester Country Club in Rye offers five grass courts.

 

Rye Racquet Club

3 South Rd, Harrison

www.ryeracquet.com

Unassuming from the outside, Rye Racquet Club is a powerhouse on the local interclub tennis circuit and beyond. “We’ve been very successful,” says the director of tennis and operations, Carolyn Cruz, producing many adult USTA teams over the years that have advanced deep into the playoffs, often reaching the national finals. Cruz attributes this success to the teaching methods of club owner Kit Byron. A professional coach, Byron applies what he’s learned at the top of the game to his lessons and clinics here in Westchester. “He can be tough,” says Cruz with a laugh. “He trains his adult students like they are college athletes,” but Cruz says that most Rye Racquet players wouldn’t have it any other way. Those not seeking trophies (yet) are welcome, too, as the club organizes social events and just-for-fun tennis classes. The pros at Rye Racquet, though steeped in the Byron method, are able to adapt to every level of play, Cruz adds. The large junior program is primarily recreational, with a smaller group partaking in USTA tournaments, playing high school tennis, and advancing to college teams.

• Advantage, Rye Racquet: nine courts (hard and Har-Tru), great pro shop, nursery, no membership requirement

 

Armonk Tennis Club

546 Bedford Rd, Armonk

www.armonktennis.com

ATC tennis director Doug Sherman received Outstanding Scholar Athlete awards when he played at James Madison University, and after listening to him explain his teaching philosophy, that makes sense. His thoughtful, caring approach is what we all seek in a tennis mentor. “I remember when coaches really lifted me up and helped me achieve more than I thought I was capable of,” Sherman says. “I want to translate those moments for my students and to avoid negativity.” (Yes, please!) His supportive attitude is shared by attentive staff here, creating a “homey club, with a real family atmosphere,” Sherman adds. It’s no wonder then, that Armonk Tennis Club attracts many loyal patrons. “We have players from age 4 to 94,” says Sherman. “We truly offer something for everyone. And if someone’s goal is just to have fun and maybe improve their backhand, that’s no less important than someone who is training to go to nationals.”

• Advantage, ATC: 14 courts (12 Har-Tru, two red clay), with hard-court play available at nearby sister facility (Armonk Indoor); summer-only memberships with use of outdoor pool

 

Tennis Tech

Gear up for the new season.

 

Gamma Ocho & Wilson Clash

Current trends in strings include the hybrid approach, or using different types of string on a single racquet, to maximize comfort and durability. Topspin fanatics might want to try a textured string, like the Gamma Ocho, which features an octagonal shape, for added “bite” on the ball. To find the perfect frame for your custom strings, racquet specialist Karen Moriarty of The Tennis Professionals in Harrison says the Wilson Clash might be worth a try. Offering extreme (and arm-friendly) flexibility and stable contact (long considered an impossible combo), the racquet is reputed to be a game changer.

Strings $14.99-$114.99
Raquet $249
The Tennis Professionals at Rye Racquet Club, Harrison
www.thetennisprofessionals.com

 

Adidas & Parley for the Oceans Clothing Line

The sports shoemaker and its product partner are making waves with its new line of tennis clothes for men and women. The striking white-and-blue outfits are woven from thread spun out of recycled plastic waste.

Tank top $55, Jacket $150
At most local tennis shops

 

Aero Knit Tennis Shoe by K-Swiss

Overwhelm your opponent with both speed and style in these new kicks. Sleek and supportive, these ultra-light trainers enclose your foot and secure the laces under an aerodynamic “Infin-Knit” upper. Downside: Chronic shoelace readjusters will have to find another way to slow down an adversary’s momentum (you know who you are).

About $140
Various locations

 

sofsole Athlete™ Insole

As supportive as a great coach, these insoles are built with IMPLUS® foam, scientifically designed to absorb shock – and lots of it. The gel heel provides for nice padding and comfort and Hydrologix™ moisture management will keep your feet cool during a heated match.

$19.99
Various locations

 

Chestnut Ridge Racquet Club

30 Snyders Hill Rd, Mount Kisco

www.chestnutridgetennis.com

Tucked away in the woods off I-684 near Mount Kisco (there have been bear sightings!), Chestnut Ridge Racquet Club is a busy hub for tennis aficionados in Northern Westchester. The popular facility offers great instruction, 10 well-maintained Har-Tru courts (six indoor year-round), a small pro shop, and a simple locker room. “We’re not a country club; we’re a down-to-earth tennis club. People feel welcome here. We don’t need all the bells and whistles, just fantastic courts, fantastic tennis,” says new tennis director Brad Breakstone. He recently took over the reins from longtime director Bob Schewior, maintaining the club’s dedication to supporting all players’ individual goals. Breakstone says he adopts a practical approach to teaching tennis, meaning that “tactics dictate technique.” For example, topspin is taught specifically as “a tool to hit deep, but in, to push opponents back,” Breakstone explains. “This is a game that you want to win; they don’t hand out awards for the prettiest forehand,” Breakstone adds with a laugh. Eager students of all ages apparently want to test out their strokes and strategies: More than 30 USTA teams played out of Chestnut Ridge last year and won — a lot.

• Advantage, Chestnut Ridge: periodic tennis/karaoke events (singing while playing not required), pro shop with great end-of-season sales.

 

Here's How to Stay on the Court and Off the Sidelines

 

“Tennis can really be rough on the body,” says Bill Thompson of Thompson Exercise in Banksville, citing the repeated stopping and starting required during play. Unlike steady activities, such as swimming, he says, tennis players are constantly reacting, going from a crouch to reaching for a high overhead, for example, without much warning. To prevent injury, recreational players should take a page from the pros’ playbook by cross-training on the days they are not playing.

“Get into an aerobics program, a stretching program, do some light weightlifting using a wide range of motion in the shoulders, keeping the biceps and triceps strong, to protect joints,” Thompson recommends.

On match day, a proper warm up is vital. The best approach, rather than deep stretching, is a quick ride on an exercise bike or a slow jog around the court, to get the blood pumping and muscles moving, says Westchester Medical Center orthopedic surgeon and sports-medicine specialist Howard Luks, MD. Slow is the keyword here; running too quickly right away, “puts you at risk for calf strains,” he warns. And never rush into any shot that involves an overhead motion. “Don’t start serving 20 first serves,” Luks advises. “Give the shoulder a chance to warm up.”

If shoulder pain does set in, Dania Sweitzer, director of Saw Mill River Physical Therapy in Mount Kisco, points out that a lack of proper footwork can contribute to shoulder trouble. “If you’re not moving to the ball, you’re probably overcompensating by reaching with your arm and shoulder,” she explains.

Meanwhile, tennis elbow, the scourge of the social player, most often resolves itself. Rest, anti-inflammatory medicines, and a forearm brace worn during play is enough most of the time. But if pain persists for months or is interfering with everyday life, there are steps to take. David Kovacevic, MD, chief of Shoulder, Elbow and Sports Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital in Bronxville, says simple therapies include acupuncture and pain-relieving cortisone injections. Additional medical treatments include the injection of platelet-rich plasma or even amniotic fluid (I know!) at the site of injury to stimulate healing. Surgery may ultimately be required to remove damaged tissue. To help prevent tennis elbow, Kovacevic recommends racquets with forgiving strings, a good sports-performance coach, and core strengthening.

 

Tennis Innovators Academy

Delfino Park, 110 Lake St, White Plains

www.tiacademies.com

TIA in White Plains has an exciting energy, and that’s no accident, says founder Cesar Andrade, who opened the eight-court facility in 2015. Working with his brother Juan, Andrade channeled his own considerable experience (training at the IMG Bollettieri Academy, playing first singles in college and years in the tennis industry) into modernizing the tennis-school concept. The result: a busy academy with a stylish vibe, including dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows for up-close viewing of on-court action. “I wanted that immediacy,” says Andrade. “I wanted the tennis to be front and center.” Living up to its name, TIA’s innovations include a uniquely well-trained staff. “We have our own standard for certifying our coaches, all of whom are NCAA players, former pros, or both,” says Andrade, “so students get consistent teaching.” TIA’s results-oriented juniors’ program also offers a college recruitment advisor. Recent success stories include grads playing for Brown and Tulane. The academy approach also is applied to adult teams and clinics, Andrade adds, noting that even the initially skeptical are soon all in. “Players see how everyone is so engaged: They’re running, working hard; it’s contagious; you fall in love with it a little bit,” he explains.

• Advantage, TIA: central White Plains location, coaches who regularly attend students’ matches, providing support and post-match analysis

 

Tennis Club of Hastings

100 River St, Hastings-on-Hudson

www.tennisclubofhastings.com

If you double fault on match point while serving at the Tennis Club of Hastings, just blame it on the view. The tennis courts here are right on the Hudson River — a gorgeous setting that could distract even Serena Williams. Of course, proximity to the Hudson wasn’t always an asset, as the club took a beating during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Happily, the six Har-Tru courts have since been replaced. More recently, new owners have taken control, prioritizing customer service, according to tennis director Matt Llewellyn, whose gracious courtside manner and serious tennis pedigree make him the perfect representative of the club’s overhaul. “I really care about what I do, about making sure each player gets individual attention,” says Llewellyn. An alum of the famed IMG (Bollettieri) Academy in Florida, Llewellyn says his tennis IQ comes from “training with some of the world’s best coaches.” Hitting with Maria Sharapova probably didn’t hurt, either. But just as rewarding, says Llewellyn, is helping local students at every stage of life improve their game. To re-energize the juniors’ program, Llewellyn is looking to provide “all the development needed” for emerging players.

• Advantage, Tennis Club of Hastings: Forty North Kitchen & Bar on-premises, weekly drop-in clinics

 

7 More Locations You Should Know

 

Bedord

Grand Slam: An Ivan Lendl Tennis Center
www.grandslamtennisclub.com

Features Lendl’s “Hitting Hot” system, based on playing tennis from the start. “Here players to learn to love the game first; technique follows in good time,” says tennis director Nesar Nayak.

 

Rye Brook

Proform Tennis Academy
www.proformtennisacademy.com

Like a mini-staycation, the five-court facility is located at the luxe Doral Arrowwood, complete with pools, a spa, restaurants, and golf. Proform offers teams and top-notch instruction for all levels, including an invitation-only elite program for promising juniors.

 

Montrose

Premier Athletic Club
www.premierathletic.com

A great resource for northwest-county residents, with five Har-Tru courts and a high-energy tennis program offering clinics like Cardio Tennis and Point Mania.

 

New Rochelle

New Rochelle Racquet Club
pinebrookfitness.com

Six permanent indoor DecoTurf courts (same as at the US Open) are ideal for perfecting your game year-round. NRRC pros have amazing résumés and offer a complete lineup, including a Tournament Training Program for juniors.

 

New Rochelle Tennis Club
www.newrochelletennisclub.com

NRTC’s eight outdoor courts fit perfectly in pretty Wykagyl Park. It caters to all levels, with a new advanced-beginner USTA team added last year. A skilled staff includes tennis director Todd Paul, a former All-American recently inducted into Wake Forest’s athletic Hall of Fame. An expert on-site racquet stringer, free racquet demos, and summer barbecues sweeten the pot.

 

Briarcliff Manor & Jefferson Valley

Club Fit Briarcliff
www.clubfit.com

Briarcliff’s 10-court facility offers in-house leagues, USTA teams, seniors-only groups, social mixers, and early-bird clinics, with similar services over at JV’s six courts. Both offer pools, a gym, and exercise classes for members. Membership isn’t required for tennis, but non-members pay extra for lessons and clinics.

 

Sportime Lake Isle

660 White Plains Rd, Eastchester

www.sportimeny.com/lake-isle

Young tennis aces in Westchester can thank John McEnroe not only for reinventing the tennis academy but for establishing one in Eastchester at Sportime Lake Isle. “John’s vision was to create a place where the best kids in the eastern section could prepare to compete at the highest level without having to be shipped off to Florida or somewhere else,” explains Fritz Buehning, director of the Sportime Lake Isle JMTA. (Inside dirt: Buehning lost the US Open doubles final in 1983 to John McEnroe’s team… guess no hard feelings!) Seems to be working, because “every year, we have nationally ranked kids, as high as top 50 in the country,” Buehning says. “Students also go on to play in college [Amherst, University of Chicago, Tufts, for example], many on scholarships.” The adult teams are no strangers to success either. Both Sportime Lake Isle, and its lovely sister club, Sportime Harbor Island in Mamaroneck, have excellent programs for men and women looking to maximize their potential. “We train adults like juniors,” says Sportime GM Carlos Campo. “We have fun, but we encourage competition.”

• Advantage, Sportime: beautiful location at Lake Isle Country Club with restaurant, golf course, and five pools

 

 

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