Youth tennis photo

Jai Poraadkar, Bob Harrison and Martin Mihaylova at the Scarsdale OPEN trophy presentation.

While tennis was one of the first sports allowed during New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s phased reopening in the spring, the inability to gather put the kibosh on the Scarsdale Summer Youth Tennis League season. This fall, however, tennis director Bob Harrison made sure to get kids playing by holding the Scarsdale OPEN Youth Tennis Tournament.

“We’ve been doing the summer program for 35 years and I was getting 40 to 60 kids out every summer for about four or five weeks, all of July and part of August,” Harrison said. “Then with COVID you couldn’t have more than 10 people and we had to work with all the regulations, so there was no way we could run the program. With no summer soccer and baseball and camp, I felt at the end of the summer let’s see if we could at least do a tournament.”

The single-elimination coed tournament was held at Scarsdale Middle School. Anyone who lost in the first round was entered in the back draw for more match experience. There was also a separate round robin for four 8-and-under girls. Overall, more than two dozen players participated.

The October into November tournament saw eighth grader Jai Poraadkar top fifth grader Martin Mihaylova in the finals, 21-18. They had an exhibition rematch prior to the trophy presentation, which was attended by Scarsdale Village Deputy Mayor Justin Arest and Trustee Lena Crandall, with Poraadkar holding on to win once again 22-20.

“These two boys had a fabulous final at 21-18,” Harrison said. “They were so good I couldn’t believe it. Jai is 6-foot-2 and in eighth grade and Martin is like 5-4 in fifth grade, but he is unbelievable. He has unbelievable mechanics. His strokes are amazing with a tremendous forehand as a 10-year-old.”

The tournament was yet another victory for Scarsdale tennis as Harrison also celebrated the 600-plus youth tennis permits sold during the pandemic and the approval by the Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees to move on to the next steps of building a comfort station at the middle school. Harrison has pledged to raise $10,000 toward the project through the Scarsdale Summer Youth Tennis League.

Donation checks can be made out to Scarsdale Summer Youth Tennis League and sent to Harrison at 65 Fox Meadow Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583.

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