Tennis and the summer have gone hand in hand for over a century. Whether it has been through watching the greatest players of all time on Wimbledon's Centre Court, seeing the King of Clay in action, or heading to Arthur Ashe Stadium on Labor Day Weekend, the sport has been a constant in many of our lives.

Like anything, tennis has evolved over the years to be a community sport. It's given parents the opportunity to bond with their children, friends the chance to become Doubles partners, and athletes the moments to improve their mental fortitude. One of our favorite events every summer is the Long Island Tennis Magazine Challenge - with three Doubles events over the course of the summer, there's plenty of room for everyone to improve their match play while having fun in between each point.

We have the Long Island and New York Tennis Magazines to thank for producing such amazing events, all hosted at Sportime Quogue in the Hamptons this season. Co-Directors David Sickmen and Michelle Stoerbeck have only grown the Challenge over the past 8 years, navigating hurdles (including the pandemic) and pivoting to include different branches of the surrounding community. And we don't blame anyone for wanting to bring a little more tennis into their life!

For those of you wondering what it's like at one of the Challenge events, we'll paint you a picture. The 1st event just occurred this past June - a lively Men's and Women's Doubles tournament with 130 people, making it the biggest in the Challenge's history. With 22 courts of matches, spectators can enjoy themselves at the open bar, pool deck, help themselves to a fully catered lunch, and cheer on their fellow athletes the entire day.

Pretty nice, right?

Well, the 2nd event in the Challenge is right around the corner on July 17th. This Mixed Doubles Tournament has everything that the first tournament had, and more. As the tournament progresses, spectators and athletes alike are encouraged to enjoy themselves until the very last match, which will be played on the main court and can be overlooked from the picturesque pool deck.

And for the first time in Challenge history, the team is working with FREE, an organization that helps individuals of all abilities realize their full potential. This time around, FREE is bringing 10 individuals of all ages to the court.

It's important that sports are accessible to people from every background - you never know if someone might find their passion until they're given the chance to try. These individuals will play in their own 20-minute tennis clinic and then spend time with the team off the court showcasing their creativity in an art project. Afterwards, everyone is invited to be the Challenge's guests and spend their time enjoying a day full of great tennis - there's no better way to spend a summer Saturday!

And it wouldn't be possible for the Challenge to evolve through the years without the support from its sponsors. From near and far, this year's sponsors include BTIG, Chris Savino, Compass, Cowen, inPhorm, KeyBanc Capital Markets, L’Antista, Plado Tasting Bar, Sportime/John McEnroe Tennis Academy, Town Bagel, Virtu Financial, Vite Vinosteria, and USTA Eastern.

But the Challenge doesn't end when the sun sets on July 17th. On Saturday, September 11th the third and final portion, a Men's and Women's Doubles tournament, will play out in one last hurrah to the summer.

BY : SYDNEY MUELLER