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Local Wins Achievement Award

For Terry Fontana, winning the United States Tennis Assosciation Eastern’s Lifetime Achievement Award was over 50 years in the making and is a dream come true.

A crowning achievement for the Hicksville resident, Fontana owes her involvement and recognition in tennis to the support of her colleagues and friends. “I have worked with so many people in this section,” said Fontana. “They have helped me achieve this.”

Since first playing in her mid-twenties, Fontana has been a stalwart supporter of tennis through her various volunteer roles. In 1956, she first picked up a racket and soon after, it became her life’s passion.

Before learning more about the tennis community, Fontana joked that she didn’t know indoor facilities existed. “I remember shoveling snow off tennis courts outdoors so I could go out and play because I wasn’t aware of indoor tennis clubs,” she said. “Tennis was not something that I grew up with.” She ended up working at indoor facilities for years after.

As her tennis IQ increased, it became her mission to help countless others succeed in the sport. To name a few of her earliest projects, Fontana founded the Matinecock Racquet Club. She also managed Valley Tennis of Manhasset and eventually moved to Arizona for more tennis opportunities.

Fontana said 1989 proved to be a defining year as she first became involved in USTA projects, including joining the Long Island Region Board once back in New York from Arizona.

Fontana earned the Eastern Volunteer of the Year Award in 1992. In addition, she started the first community tennis association in Long Island during the 90s and helped bring tennis into the Hicksville School District.

In 1995, Fontana honored former professional player Vitas Gerulaitis by organizing the Vitas Gerulaitis Long Island Championships. Through her work, she raised over $13,000 in scholarships and $2,000 in contributions for deserving juniors.

By working tirelessly to support Jr. Team Tennis programs on Long Island, Fontana received the region’s most prestigious honor: the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. Three years later, she accepted the Long Island Volunteer of the Year Award for her efforts.

Over the last decade, Fontana has worked selflessly to support the growth of tennis. Most recently, and earlier in 2013, Long Island honored with the Vitas Gerulatis For The Love of Tennis Award at their Annual Dinner.

About her latest — and largest — accolade, Terry said, “I’m just so proud. I really am. But never in my life did I dream that I would get a Lifetime Achievement Award from the section. Honestly, it’s just so wonderful.”