Courtesy of the USTA
NEW YORK – Lloyd Emanuel '71CC, a resident of Rye, New York, and Head Tennis Professional at the Fairview Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut, was inducted into the USTA Eastern’s Tennis Hall of Fame on April 28th, 2018 at the historic New York Athletic Club in Manhattan.
Emanuel has shared his tennis talent and dedication with USTA Eastern, making our organization stronger and ensuring that veteran lovers of our sport could continue competing as long as they wish. Proceeds from the evening’s Hall of Fame induction event will benefit the Junior Tennis Foundation (JTF), which provides grants and scholarships for junior and adaptive players, as well as national junior tennis and learning (NJTL) organizations throughout the Eastern section. More than $2 million has been granted to worthy programs and scholarships to junior tennis players since its founding in 1979. JTF’s generosity affords opportunities for children to attend tennis camps, sectional and national competitions, and educational workshops.
“There are not many people who love the sport of tennis as much as Lloyd does,” said Jenny Schnitzer, Executive Director of USTA Eastern. “He has been one of USTA Eastern’s most engaged volunteers and we are still benefiting today from his contributions to section’s competitive tennis enterprise.”
Emanuel is best known for founding the Eastern Master Grand Prix Circuit, a sanctioned adult tournament series that was played on grass, clay, hard and indoor surfaces in the New York metropolitan area between 1985 and 2003 and drew hundreds of players annually. He created the tournament after being tormented by an insatiable desire to continue playing competitive tennis after playing varsity tennis for Columbia University, where he served as varsity captain under Butch Seewagen from 1970-71 and earned the distinction of Eastern College Athletic Conference doubles champion in 1970.
“I found myself in this netherworld, aged out of competing against very strong younger players and not old enough to play in the “seniors” tournaments, which had a minimum age threshold of 35,” he explained. Over the years, Lloyd added older age divisions to the Grand Prix as well as some Women’s events. He even added Men’s and Women’s 25 & over and 30 & over brackets for a few years to address the competitive tennis drought he muddled through, which led to the establishment of national ranking categories in those younger adult divisions. Emanuel competed in most of the age brackets of the Eastern Master Grand Prix while serving as the tournament’s director, often garnering top 5 ranking in singles and doubles.
Emanuel tirelessly worked to enlist top-name business sponsors, procure sizable prize money and establish a forum in which the likes of national champions including Butch Seewagen, John James, Bob Tanis, Kirk Moritz, Scott Shannon and Steve Siegel could enjoy playing at a professional level. The inaugural 1985 tournament was so successful, Charles Friedman of the New York Times wrote a feature story in 1986, lauding Lloyd for creating this tennis “extravaganza for 35ers.”
Emanuel credits his father, Murray Emanuel, for introducing him to the sport to which he committed his life. “When other young guys were going to the park to play softball and basketball, my dad was drawn to the tennis courts at St. James Park in the Bronx, where he became a devoted, self-taught player,” said Emanuel. Murray’s love for the sport prompted him to move his family 10 miles north to the community of New Rochelle where the tennis was plentiful.
Emanuel’s family became members of the Beach & Tennis Club, where Lloyd received his first tennis lessons from former Indian Davis Cup player, Ramu Raju. He distinguished himself as a formidable junior player, winning numerous city tournaments, serving as captain of the New Rochelle High School Boys Tennis team and reaching the All-County and a Section 1 singles finals before being recruited for Columbia’s men’s varsity tennis team.
Shortly after graduating from Columbia, Emanuel enrolled in SUNY New Paltz with the intention of earning a high school teaching degree. He was assigned a student teaching rotation at Saugerties High School, and it didn’t take long for him to seek out the school’s Boys Varsity tennis coach to offer his assistance, which was gladly accepted. That year, the team won the Ulster County Scholastic Championship for the first time in the school’s history.
The families of his high school players persuaded Emanuel to work at a local tennis club over the following summer, where he realized he could make a decent living teaching the subject that truly excited him, and Lloyd never looked back. Not long after deciding his career path, Emanuel joined the staff at the Valley Tennis Club in Manhasset, N.Y., hired by his dear friend Bob Litwin. Around the same time, Dick Zausner of the Port Washington Tennis Academy solicited Lloyd’s service on a several integral fronts: serving on the ETA Junior Ranking Committee, a tedious undertaking that was done without the support of computers, as well as on the USTA National 21-Under Championships Committee. Thus began Lloyd’s more than 35-year tenure serving the competitive tennis enterprise nationally and within the Eastern section, which included his appointments as chair of the Girls 16s Junior Ranking and Adult Competition Committees, Secretary and Board Member of USTA Eastern, as well as being a founding board member of the Eastern Adult Tennis Foundation and years serving on USTA’s National Senior Ranking Committee.
“For me, competing was and still is the ultimate expression of tennis talent,” said Emanuel. “During the years of the Eastern Masters, we, the players, pushed each other to become better adult players. There’s nothing more gratifying than playing better which is why I continue to love teaching. I love helping others improve and play their best and sometimes even surpass their own goals.”
The USTA Eastern Section, based in White Plains, N.Y., is a not-for-profit community service organization whose mission is to promote and develop the growth of tennis. The section encompasses all of New York State, Northern New Jersey and Greenwich, Conn. It is one of 17 geographic sections of the United States Tennis Association, the governing body of tennis in the United States, and supports more than 49,000 members. The section also establishes and maintains rules of fair play, high standards of sportsmanship and represents, in its jurisdiction, the programs and policies of the USTA. More information about the USTA Eastern Section is available by visiting: www.usta.com/Eastern