Three years on the sidelines with a bad hip and two surgeries later, 65-year-old Bob Litwin, one of the North Shore’s most accomplished tennis players, is ready to lead the United States Grand Masters Team as its player/coach in the 19th World Maccabiah Games in Israel in July.
Litwin, a member of the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame, has won the International Tennis Federation World Championship, 14 United States Tennis Association National titles from 1991 to 2007 and was ranked first in the over 55 years old bracket in 2005. He grew up in Great Neck, starring at Great Neck South High in tennis and basketball and lived in Port Washington for 23 years before moving to Glenwood Landing to develop his Focus Institute.
He’s returning to the Israeli tournament for the first time in 30 years. “When I was 35 that year I won the gold medal in doubles and the bronze medal in singles, “ he recalled. “I’m back to playing at the same level as before,” he said, referring to his hip difficulties. “I feel that I’m just a few points away from being ranked the No. 1 player in the country in the 65 and over.” Litwin is also waiting word as to whether he’ll be named to this year’s Senior Davis Cup Team that will play in Czechoslovakia. He’s been on the team eight times previously.
Maccabi USA, an organization that supports Jewish athletes throughout the country, selected Litwin as coach for the team, which has over 20 players, all aged 65 years or older. Litwin is clear about his mission at the Games. “I have two goals,” he said. “One is for me to go back there and win a gold in the singles. The other is to take these players, many of who are not tournament players, and share with them what the competitive experience really is, and to hopefully have some of them win medals. It’s going to be an unbelievable lifetime experience for them if they can win a medal.”
Litwin became disinterested in playing tennis when he first entered the University of Michigan. “Basketball was what I wanted to play,” he explained. After graduation Litwin began teaching history in a private school in Manhattan. “When the school needed a tennis coach, they drafted me. During the summer I started teaching tennis. And I made a career out of it. I ended up teaching tennis for 35 years.”
“I didn’t start playing competitive tennis again until I was 32 and living in Port Washington,” he continued. “That’s where I began to develop.” Litwin was the first director of tennis for the Village Club of Sands Point and was a consultant to the Port Washington Yacht Club when it began to develop its tennis program.
Litwin then began to design a program for weekend athletes and business people he called “Focus,” concentrating on the mental side of the game. His competitive spirit returned as he began to enter tournaments to as he says, “Experience what my students were experiencing, so that I could help them better.”
“People were starting to improve by learning mental skills - whether they were relaxation skills, focusing skills, breathing skills, perspective, etc.,” he continued. “Then people in business said, ‘this is just what we need in the workplace. I need this in my office.’”
Saturday, 13 September 2014 00:00
Known for her love of exotic cars, sophisticated leather fashions and a penchant for giving back, part-time Long Islander Joanne Del Prete-Rosten can often be seen driving around town in her Lamborghini LP550, which is decked out in the colors of her clothing company, Canto NYC. On Sunday, Sept. 14, those interested in getting a closer look at the car that has become somewhat of a local celebrity can see it on display with hundreds of exotic cars at the sixth annual Gold Coast Concours/Bimmerstock event, presented by Martino
Auto Concepts and benefiting the Diabetes Research Institute. Rain or shine, the event will take place in downtown Glen Cove from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free to spectators. For those wanting to register a car, the fee is $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the event.
Friday, 12 September 2014 00:00
As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which will take place on
Saturday, Sept. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.
“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”
Thursday, 11 September 2014 00:00
At the end of July, children from across Long Island traveled to Pierce Country Day Camp in Roslyn to make a big splash for disaster relief. Two events hosted by the American Red Cross gave young swimmers the opportunity to put their skills to the test, all while raising money to support their local Red Cross.
In late July, hundreds of children came out to the venerable Pierce County Day Camp to swim laps in support of the Red Cross. The children raised a collective amount of over $11,000.
Thursday, 11 September 2014 00:00
Glen Cove High School graduate and former All-County basketball star Garen Spendjian has proven that hard work and dedication to a sport you love can pay off.
The Armenian National Basketball Team player will soon begin his professional basketball career with the El Shams basketball team of Cairo, Egypt. The 6’5” Spendjian will play both the power forward and small forward positions for El Shams of the Egyptian Super League.