This article is actually two different articles rolled into one with two different beginnings.
1) Congratulations to our Eastern Sectional players who are doing so well at the biggest tournaments in the county and in the world. At the recent Winter Nationals Jamie Loeb won the Girls 18 singles and Girls 18 doubles. Nicholas Crystal won the Boys 16 doubles. With 17 USTA Sections, that is way better than average. Let’s not forget about Christina McHale 43 in the World – WTA. Also Noah Rubin (see below).
2) It’s impressive, looking back at how many good tennis players have played tournaments in this area. From the Sectional Championships to the National Opens, and even to some of our Level 1 tournaments. We don’t always appreciate how talented some of these kids are.
So how good are these Eastern kids and how many of them have played here.
Crystal, Loeb, Rubin and McHale have all played here, as well as many others including local prodigy Matt Kandath. Matt got to be as high as 6th in the country in the juniors and 53rd in the world juniors). Another top boy to come through this area was Bryan Koniecko. Bryan Koniecko was #14 in the country in Divison 1 College Singles and 10th in Doubles. Jackie Wu, who finished up her college career at Vanderbilt last year got to be 38th in the country in Division 1. And then there’s Cory Parr, Ryann Cutilo and Noah Rubin – all products of Sportime – Bethpage. Noah is the #2 ranked sophmore in the country and was finalist at Les Petite As – one of the biggest tournaments in the world for 14 and unders. Past winners of Les Petite As include Rafael Nadal, Kim Clijsters and Martina Hingis. Ryann is a Senior at Wake Forest and was ranked – as a junior player – in the top 20 nationally in every age group. Cory also went to Wake Forest where he won the ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) National Indoors Championships. He was ranked 3rd in the country in the Boys 16 and Unders. Cory played the Pro circuit and made it to a career high #272 in the world. We also had Bea Bielik playing here. Bea also went to Wake Forest where she won the NCAA Championships in singles without dropping a set. She followed that up with a pro career that saw her rise to #130 in the world including a win over Tamarine Tanasugarn – who was #30 in the world at the time – at the U.S.Open. Then there is our own Meghan Yeats of Hudson. Meghan was #21 in the country as a senior and she won states.
Although I have mentioned quite a few players who have played our tournaments that have either 1) made it to the pro’s, 2) been top 25 in the country as a junior or 3) been top 50 NCAA I am sure there were others. I wasn’t around in the John McEnroe, Vitas Gerulaitus, Richard Meyer era so I don’t know if they played the Albany tournaments back then. John McEnroe was #1 in the world, Vitas Gerulaitus was #4 in the world and Richard Meyer was #83 in the world in what was truly the golden age of Eastern Tennis. Who knows, maybe tody’s crop will be even better.