Beach tennis, anyone? Trying your hand at this combination of beach volleyball, badminton and tennis is just one of the interactive activities to be offered at the New York Tennis Expo on Feb. 9 at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale.
The free event, which runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., caters to adults and kids alike and kicks off the weeklong New York Open men's tournament. “If you’re a 6-year-old or a 66-year-old, there’s going to be something for you to do,” says Brian Coleman, senior editor at the Wantagh-based United Sports Publications, a magazine publishing company that hosts the Expo in conjunction with GF Sports, owner and operator of the Association of Touring Professional’s New York Open.
This is the sixth expo and the second consecutive year it’s been held at the NYCB Live, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum; organizers say they expect more than 4,000 visitors. Here’s more about beach tennis, and half a dozen ways to enjoy the day:
Skills clinics. Four Long Island college tennis programs will conduct clinics open to all ages and skill levels. They’ll be joined at times by Luke Jensen, a former Grand Slam doubles champion and director of racket sports at West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, and guest coach Nick Bollettieri, who has worked with Andre Agassi and Monica Seles. “It’s a good way to play with some high-level tennis players,” Coleman says. New York Institute of Technology is scheduled for 10:30-11:45 a.m.; Farmingdale State is up from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Adelphi University hosts from 1 to 2:15 p.m. and Nassau Community College ends the day from 2:15 to 3 p.m. While the expo will have some rackets available, organizers recommend bringing your own. Advance clinic registration isn’t necessary.
Meet-and-greets, interactive speaker sessions and fashion show. Attendees can take photos with and get autographs from ATP players including Andy Roddick, a former World No. 1 ranked player who won the U.S. Open singles title in 2003. Two speaker sessions will feature panelists discussing topics such as how to win college scholarships to taking your game to the next level. The first will be at 11:30 a.m., headlined by Bollettieri and an ATP player; the second will be from at 2:30 p.m. and be headlined by Jensen and an ATP player. Audience members can ask questions. To attend, sign up and receive an admission bracelet at the expo registration desk. “Each session can take 150 people,” says David Sickmen, publisher of United Sports Publications. And Long Island high school tennis players will model some of the latest in tennis apparel during a fashion show from 1:30 to 2 p.m.
The kids’ zone features a 10-and-under mini tennis court, a bounce house, face painting and balloon animals. Kids can take photos with mascots Dale the Eagle from the Long Island Nets and Hudson from the New York Empire as well as a princess. Again, organizers recommend kids bring their own rackets.
Here’s where attendees can try beach tennis. “Beach tennis is played on a sand court,” Sickmen says. It doesn’t use a tennis racket. “It’s a paddle. You can’t let the ball hit the ground. It’s all volleying.” The game follows tennis rules. There’s also a speed serve booth that lets players clock how fast they serve. A live band and a DJ will provide musical entertainment. A Ninja-Warrior style obstacle course — the expo's only offering with a fee — tests fitness, climbing and jumping skills and cost $20. Ninja contenders sign up at the event.
More than 70 exhibitors, both tennis and non-tennis oriented, will be showcasing businesses and services, including tennis clubs, academies and camps, sports doctors and travel destinations. Many will offer games and raffle prizes.
Tournament Draw Ceremony
The draw ceremony for the New York Open takes place at 12:30 p.m. Attendees will have the chance to participate. Last year, for instance, players’ names were placed in a basket and kids from the audience picked them, Sickmen says.
New York Tennis Expo
WHEN|WHERE 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Tpke., Uniondale.
INFO Free admission; $5 parking fee; $20 for Ninja Warrior course. To get a free parking pass, register in advance at 2019nytennisexpo.eventbrite.com. For more information about the expo, call 516-409-4444. For information about the tournament, visit newyorkopen.com.