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Fort Greene Tennis Ladder Serves Up Fun and Rivalry for Fifth Year Running

By Janet Upadhye | May 20, 2013 3:04pm
 Roland Chang and Gabriela Ospina organize the Fort Greene Tennis Ladder.
Roland Chang and Gabriela Ospina organize the Fort Greene Tennis Ladder.
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Fort Greene Tennis Ladder

FORT GREENE — Fort Greene has its very own Wimbledon.

The Fort Greene tennis ladder, a fun system for ranking a group of players, is 200 players strong and in its fifth year.

"A tennis ladder is good for a neighborhood because it brings unity to a diverse community, connecting them with players they might not otherwise have a chance to meet," said organizer Roland Chang.

Chang came up with the idea for a tennis ladder while hanging out on the benches in Fort Greene Park. He mustered up interest from players on the nearby courts, scribbled their contact information in a notebook and the idea grew from there. The ladder "spread like wildfire in New York’s tennis community," according to Roland.

In a tennis ladder players are arranged like rungs of a ladder.

"I took a liking to the flexibility of a ladder, which allowed players to organically reach out to one another," Chang said. "Armed with various contact information provided to them weekly, they could then set up their own matches on their own time."

This year the Fort Greene tennis ladder got a fancy new website designed by co-ladder organizer Gabriela Ospina, new T-shirts, and a Twitter account that updates players on weather and game results. Over the last five years more than $2,500 dollars in prizes have gone to ladder winners.

Best of all, the ladder gives neighbors the chance to get to know each other.

"It has helped people find new roommates, hitting partners, and in some cases, new romance," said Roland.

It also inspired activism on local issues. The Fort Greene tennis courts are currently being resurfaced in part because of money raised from the ladder's membership fees.

The season kicked off on May 15.

To find out more or get involved check out the Fort Greene Ladder website.