Even though the sport of tennis is more noted for the spring and summer in the New York City area with competition at all levels, it still remains as an all-year round activity. On the major circuit, there was an upset in the singles finals of the men’s Australian Open. Fans across the world were stunned when ‘Rafa’ Nadal lost in the singles final. And here in New York City on the junior circuit, the major clubs stage their own winter programs and tournaments for the beginners and juniors on all levels.
One individual very much involved with the sport and is still active is Bill Wiese, who was recently spotted during a Big East College Conference basketball game matching Seton Hall at St. John’s Universities.
Wiese was relaxing and watching an exciting game won by the St. John’s Red Storm who saw their 17-point lead midway into the second half shrink all the way down. However, the Red Storm won the contest in the closing seconds, 77-76, at Carnesecca Arena. Wiese stopped to talk about the progress of his New York Junior Tennis Learning, formerly New York Junior Tennis League (NYJTL) program is doing during the course of the winter Anyway, NYJTL is an all-year round program primarily for the kids.
The NYJTL makes use of major facilities including the Billie Jean King United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Tennis Center in Queens, during the calendar year. The USTA conducts its own tournaments and programs as well as the NJTL for the juniors and kids.
“I’m still with the New York Junior Tennis League, and responsible for all the tournaments as always,” Wiese said. “We’re building a new tennis center in the Bronx. I hope it will open up in the by the end of the year. It’s a 23 million-dollar project that the Junior Tennis League is undertaking. It’s really exciting.”
The new facility will be servicing the whole New York City community. Of course the major part of the funding will be from the City of New York and The Bronx borough president’s office
“We will be giving free tennis instruction and programs for the children, but we also will be operating a commercial end to be able to get enough money to continue our non-profit activities and programs for the children,” added Wiese.
“I’ll be up there to (run) the tournaments in the Bronx and involved with the community and helping out anywhere that I can.”
As for right now the NYJTL still has a winter early morning program going on at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. There are eight more weeks every Saturday and Sunday mornings from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. “We supply the racquets and balls,” said Wiese who is in attendance every week. The kids have to bring their own sneakers (tennis shoes).
After the spring break in April, the NYJTL will start its after school programs on April 28. This spring program culminates with the Mayor’s Cup in various categories in June.
Wiese is looking forward to the opening of the new Tennis Center in The Bronx.
“It’s going to create a legacy that the founder Skip Hartman and those of us who have been there a longtime will be able to look back and say that their son was passed on to the community and the City,” Wiese added.
When asked about some of the future real ‘good’ players coming out of the program, Wiese did say ‘it is more important that we have a lot of players playing tennis and taking advantage (of our program).
“We just got a five thousand dollar grant for the SAT preparation which we are also doing it at the National Tennis Center for high school juniors on Saturday mornings at 9:00 a.m. untill noon,” he went on. “We’re preparing for March or June….”
“We’re looking forward to get through the this cold winter, looking to go out with the kids and running their tournaments, being in shorts and T-shirts (instead of ) being in this over coat.
As for basketball, Wiese is a fan of the St. John’s Red Storm and follows them closely. In fact he is a helping the university to get a tennis bubble built on campus.