By Shana Liebman–
Game Set Match! The Westchester Tennis Ladder, which launched last summer with approximately 60 members, is gearing up for its second season. The brainchild of two self-proclaimed tennis nuts, Michael Moshan and David Zuckerman, the ladder provides Westchester’s advanced tennis players with ample opportunity to play and compete on local courts. And despite the lockdown, the 2020 inaugural season was a triumph.
“Tennis in Westchester had previously been scattered among expensive country clubs, USTA teams, and a few friends who were lucky to find each other,” Moshan, who lives in Irvington, says. “It was mostly doubles and social.”
So Moshan hooked up with Zuckerman (who lives in Edgemont) to create a tennis ladder, similar to the one he ran in Williamsburg, Brooklyn from 2012-2016, before moving to Irvington. He explains: “A tennis ladder is simply a ranking of players from last to first. Players lower on the ladder challenge players above them. If the lower player wins, he/she takes the place of the loser, who drops one rung on the ladder. Everyone is trying to do whatever they can to climb up the ladder, while pulling the others down. It sounds Darwinian but it’s really fun.”
The 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 USTA level (4.0, 4.5 and 5.0) means that your skill ranges from the solid—you can hit the ball pretty well, but your match skills need improvement—all the way to ex-collegiate level,” Zuckerman says.
The ladder is managed on an easy-to-navigate platform/app called Tennisrungs.com, where the players can challenge each other and record the results. The cost for the season is $25.
When the ladder was announced last spring, Zuckerman says the response was intense. “Serious players of all ages, men and women, signed up. There were not only tennis players in their 40’s and 50’s, there were teaching pros, players right out of college, high schoolers who play on their tennis team looking to sharpen their match play, and even players who never played competitive tennis but who could hit the ball well, loved the game, and wanted to compete,” Zuckerman explains.
“Personally, I enjoyed it more than playing USTA. I’m looking forward to getting back out there again and bringing more people in,” says Ryan Merkin, who lives in Tarrytown.
“It’s a gem of a ladder, perfect for meeting a whole lot of tennis-loving players who are willing to drive all over Westchester,” says Mark Kemna, who lives in White Plains. “Last year there was a fantastic roster of players.”
The end of the 2020 season tournament capped off a summer of over 500 matches played all over Westchester’s public courts. In addition to court camaraderie, players communicated, gossiped about matches, posted post-match photos with match recaps, and found hitting partners on the Westchester Tennis Ladder’s Facebook page.
“We got to know each other, follow each other’s matches and root each other on,” Moshan says. “Players were gracious and kind with each other. A tennis community developed in a really cool way. In Westchester where we’re so spread out, plus during a pandemic, that’s not an easy thing to do.”
The Westchester Tennis Ladder will resume in June of 2021. Interested players can contact Michael Moshan and David Zuckerman at: email@example.com.