Dick Zausner, president of the Port Washington Tennis Academy, was inducted into the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame on Friday at the Beach Point Club in Mamaroneck.
“It’s a very nice honor to be named to the hall of fame,” Zausner said. “This is all about kids and education.”
Zausner’s father, Hy Zausner, founded the tennis academy in 1966, and he began working there at an early age, before eventually taking over the academy after his father became ill.
From early on, Zausner said, he wanted to help children — not only at becoming better tennis players, but to get into college and succeed in life.
“It’s all about using tennis as a way of furthering your goals,” he said. “That’s the goal.”
The academy, which is the largest indoor tennis facility on the East Coast with 17 indoor courts and a 1/4-mile track, was created as a nonprofit facility not only to help children but Port Washington, too.
Zausner said the academy donates to over a dozen local nonprofit organizations, including the Community Chest of Port Washington, the Port Washington Parent Resource Center, the Port Washington Counseling Center, the Port Washington Senior Center and more.
“We give many donations to many Port Washington youth-oriented organizations and also the senior center,” he said.
Zausner, who has lived in Port Washington since the early 1970s, was born in Manhattan and worked in real estate before taking over the tennis academy full time.
Zausner said no matter who comes to train at the academy, he and the staff always try to provide them with the best opportunities.
“Our main goal is to be able to help children earn college scholarships,” Zausner said. “We are a nonprofit organization that believes in providing as many opportunities for children that we can.”
The tennis academy primarily trains children from ages 4 to 18, but also offers a variety of adult programs as well, including singles play, doubles play and private lessons.
Tennis legends John McEnroe and Vitas Gerulaitis, both Queens natives, trained at the academy.
Having been involved in the tennis academy for over 40 years, Zausner said he will always be a part of it.
“I’ll be a part of it until I drop dead,” he said.