Tennis Tuesday is New York Empire’s content series features some of the game’s greats and New York’s finest tennis coaches, administrators, and fans. This week we spoke with publisher of the New York and Long Island Tennis Magazine, David Sickmen.
The New York Tennis Expo will be returning for its 6th year on February 9th at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Can you share what tennis fans can expect at this year’s Expo?
The Expo is a celebration of tennis. It is free to attend and will have activities for the whole family.
We will have on-court playing opportunities on the same Black Courts that will be used by the pros as “famous Coaches”, ATP World Tour players, and local College Coaches conducting clinics throughout the day. There will also be a Net Generation Mini Court for the younger players to play on.
The Expo features the Kids Area with a Bouncy House, Face Painting, Mascots (including New York Empire’s Hudson) and Princesses, carnival games and more! The Activity Area will host a full Beach Tennis Court, Speed Serve Booth, Basketball Shooting Area and a Wolfpack Ninja Obstacle Course.
In addition, we are excited to team with NY Open. The two Speaker Sessions this year will feature panelists; such as, ATP stars Ryan Harrison and Steve Johnson, as well as legendary coach Nick Bollettieri. There will be Meet and Greets with all three and players from the NY Open will be on-hand practicing all day. The Draw Ceremony will once again be live from the Expo Hall at 12:30pm.
Throughout the day dozens of vendors will be displaying products and services, while offering games and giveaways. There will be something for everyone!
How has New York Tennis Expo helped the tennis community in Long Island and overall in New York?
Just like any industry, there is competition amongst the different companies involved in similar businesses. But what the Expo does is centralize everything and everyone in the tennis community and brings it all together for a one-day extravaganza. From a business standpoint, the biggest issue I’ve heard from people in the industry during the decade our magazines have existed is that we need to reach out to “new” players while also finding a way to speak directly to those who are current fans and players. Well, the Expo does both. Our large array of activities appeals to everyone looking for something to do on February 9, and we have the unique ability to bring the tennis businesses together so that they have the opportunity to speak to the thousands in attendance.
In addition to the Expo, your magazine has been instrumental with other grassroots events to grow the sport of tennis and other racquet sports; such as, beach tennis, pop tennis, pickle ball. How have these new racquet sports affected the game of tennis?
We work within our community as much as possible, and love being able to give back whenever we can. A few years ago, we started a charity called “Grow Tennis New York” in order to provide playing opportunities to those who can’t afford lessons. We also run our own Summer Series which consists of Kids Days, Adult Wine and Plays, New York Beach Tennis events and other tennis tournaments, such as the Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge.
These events allow us to get out in the field and form relationships with all the different areas that make up our industry. And in turn, creates more events and programming for the community. While we are a tennis magazine, we are very involved in other racquet sports as well. We started New York Beach Tennis, which has continued to grow for the last few years on a local level as we run three tournaments and hold weekly play throughout the summer. This sport tends to have a younger crowd, while another sport we are active in, Paddle Tennis, tends to have a bit of an older crowd. I believe all these racquet sports should be embraced by the tennis world as they can serve as a way to attract more people to tennis by hitting people of all ages. Times change and when they do, we need to adjust as a sport and community in order to grow!
You have been a partner of the New York Empire since the inception of the team three years ago. What do you like about World TeamTennis and how do you feel it fits into the tennis community?
World TeamTennis is such an exciting and innovative way to bring tennis to fans. The fast-paced and co-ed nature of the league does a great job of celebrating inclusion and teamwork. I also think, in particular with the New York Empire, the teams and league do a great job of being a part of the community, whether it’d be hosting special nights or putting on events in the local area. It’s a great way to bring a team atmosphere to an individual sport. Having the short set format provides quicker action on the court, and many nights the star players are performing in more intimate venues, which allow fans the opportunity to see them up close and personal. It is a very family-friendly atmosphere that even provides the kids the opportunity to meet and get autographs from the pros on both teams that they just watched! There is a lot to do during the summer in New York, but the New York Empire and World TeamTennis do a great job of presenting a truly entertaining and competitive product.
Being an integrated part of tennis and specifically in the New York Community, what is your favorite part of the game.
My favorite part of our tennis community and what we do is the relationships we have formed with everyone, from businesses to junior and adult players to parents. We feel grateful to have the support from so many different corners of the New York tennis community. In an environment that is very competitive, we have been able to work with so many different people, and really count on each other to continue to grow the sport we all love. Tennis is our business, but it’s also a passion for me. It truly is a lifelong sport, and I love all aspects of it as both a player and a fan. I look forward to continuing to do my part in helping the sport grow!