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Croton and Ossining Community Tennis Associations: Tennis Everyone

October 31, 2014 12:16 PM
Patrice Davidson of Croton and Hasan Dajani of Ossining helped run the tournament.
Players Daryl Paxson and Doug Olcott carried the trophy for Croton.

Chinmai Deo, an Ossining High School freshman, had never met Patti Robbins, a grandmother who has been playing tennis for decades, before they stepped on the court together October 18 for a nail-biting, come-from-behind victory in the season-finale Croton vs. Ossining Battle of the Community Tennis Associations (CTAs).

The second-annual tournament drew nearly fifty players of all ages and varying abilities to the Nelson Park courts in Ossining for pumpkin donut holes, community-based pride and a lot of fun. Twelve best-of-three-sets matches were played following USTA rules. Each town was awarded 10 points for a straight-set victory, 6 points for a split-set victory, and 4 points for a split-set loss. Croton won, 70-50; the tournament was not a sanctioned USTA event—but was for bragging rights only.

“Ossining gave it their best shot (literally and figuratively!) but came up a little short,” said Hasan Dajani, a tennis professional who is program director and board member of the Ossining CTA. “It is always great to see both tennis communities come together for a friendly—yet very competitive—end-of-the-season battle to help raise funds for both communities. Everyone wins.”

The CTAs, which are USTA-based volunteer organizations to promote the growth of local tennis, serve some 500 players across the two towns (Ossining, 300; Croton, 200). The programs run clinics and round robins that regularly fill up, drawing both first-time players and seasoned veterans, kids as young as 4 years old and adults as old as… let’s just say they can remember wood racquets. Members of the Croton CTA care for the courts at PVC Middle School, including watering and sweeping the red clay and funding overall maintenance. Ossining CTA raised the funds to bring lights to Nelson Park, enabling night play.

“Croton Harmon Community Tennis and Ossining Community Tennis have become a model of collaboration in grassroots tennis,” says Patrice Davidson, co-president of the Croton Harmon CTA. “The two small associations have worked to dovetail their events throughout the season and share resources and instructors. This allows us to provide more events and opportunities for instruction—reaching an even wider audience.”

Throughout the chilly October Saturday morning, across the Nelson Park courts, you could find an Ossining husband who just learned tennis this summer, teaming with his veteran-player wife against a Croton couple who between them number more than fifty years of tennis; a father-daughter team; married couples; friends; and strangers—until tennis paired them up. “All this diversity and multi-generations playing together—that’s what I love about community tennis,” says Croton’s other co-president, Rhonda Schonfeld.