Tuesday, August 7, 2007

RIP: Indoor Tennis Visionary

The father of modern indoor tennis, Jerry Schneider, has passed away at 87. Tennis heads around the nation, and particularly those in the chillier corners of the country, should remember this pioneer for making it possible to rally even in a blizzard (as the Racqonteur was lucky enough to do many times at New York's Stadium Racquet Club, which recently closed). He opened the North Shore Racquet Club in Northbrook, IL with four indoor courts in 1961. This was well before the sport's boom of the '70s and early '80s, but soon his revolutionary club would see siblings erected around the nation. Now many indoor clubs are under siege from real estate sharks looking to turn courts into condos. Manhattan's dozen or so of indoor clubs has been whittled down by developers to a measly handful over the last ten years, but a few resilient venues, such as Midtown Tennis on Eighth Avenue, manage to keep the lights on and the balls flying. Schneider would be proud.

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