By Shana Liebman—
On May 12th, the annual Westchester Tennis Ladder (WTL) will begin its fourth season — and for the first time will include an intermediate ladder in addition to its highly successful advanced ladder.
WTL, which launched in 2020 with 60 members and grew to 150 players in 2022, is the brainchild of local tennis nuts Michael Moshan and David Zuckerman.
“For decades, tennis in Westchester was chaotic,” explains Moshan, who lives in Irvington. “Players would have to join a club or play on a USTA team to find other players. Whatever their level, it would be tough to find competitive singles matches and meet other players.”
In 2020, Moshan teamed up with Zuckerman (who lives in Edgemont) to create a ladder similar to the one he helmed in Williamsburg, Brooklyn from 2012-2016. “David knew a ton of people in Westchester. With his network and my ladder experience, it made for a great partnership,” said Moshan.
The advanced ladder is open to both male and female players who rank in the 4.0-to -5.0+ USTA (United States Tennis Association) level equivalent. “This means that your skill ranges from the solid—you can hit the ball well, but your match skills need improvement—all the way to collegiate level,” Zuckerman says.
This intermediate ladder, offered for the first time this year, is for players “at the 3.5 level, who are passionate about the game, but might need improvement with movement or consistency,” Zuckerman explains. “But this level of player also might enjoy singles and getting their competitive juices flowing.”
The ladder is easy to navigate on a website/app, where players can challenge each other and record the results. Lower rung players challenge those above them. If the lower player wins, he/she takes the place of the loser, who drops one rung. The cost is $45 for those who join before May 12th and $55 for those who join mid-season.
Last year, WTL facilitated more than 800 matches, capped by two tournaments. Zuckerman summarized the essence of WTL: “We’re happy with the variety and ages of the players – from current high school tennis team players to former college players; from those in their 30s, 40s and 50s wishing to extend their glory days to those who never seriously competed but simply want to stay in shape in a competitive but friendly tennis setting.”
“Matches are set up by the players themselves,” Moshan added. “There’s no set time like with USTA team tennis or at a private club. The players work it out as to when and where they play, which allows for maximum flexibility. Players love that.”
One of last year’s competitors, Eric Perlmutter, a lifelong New Yorker who recently moved to Larchmont, says he was “skeptical about moving to the suburbs but hoping to use tennis as an entry to adjustment.” WTL was exactly what he was looking for. “It was amazing. This will be my second year playing and I’m so excited for the camaraderie, connections and friendly competition.”
“We got to know each other. We would gossip about this guy’s game, or that awesome ladder match,” Moshan says. “Players developed friendships. They found hitting partners in their town with guys they never knew previously. A tennis community developed in this organic way.”
David Arnett who lives in Tarrytown and competed in the last three ladders, says that he has met dozens of players through the ladder. “It’s a terrific group of serious (but not too serious) tennis players.”
The Westchester Tennis Ladder will begin on May 12, 2023. Interested players should contact Michael Moshan and David Zuckerman at: firstname.lastname@example.org to register.Read or leave a comment on this story...