Tennis is one of the most popular sport pastimes in the Hamptons, with many would-be players always on the hunt for someone to teach them the fundamentals or help them hone their novice or advanced skills. In July, Tennis at the Barn, a new facility in Westhampton, celebrated its grand opening and began welcoming families and individuals to come play, train, shop and relax.
The owners of Tennis at the Barn, located at the former Eastside Tennis Academy, have redesigned the space, repurposed courts and introduced a team of high-level players to host a plethora of tennis and pickleball programs, private lessons, round robins, clinics, micro leagues and private events. The team not only consists of experts in tennis playing and coaching, but also in the art of maintaining and growing a club.
Chief among them is general manager and director of racquet sports James McDonald, an International Pickleball Teaching Professional Association-certified coach, United States Professional Tennis Association elite pro and former state coach of Western Australia with 40 years of experience in the sport. He is joined by his wife, Kris, a former touring professional who achieved a world ranking of #90 on the WTA tour. Together, they’ve coached tennis and pickleball players of all skill levels for many years. Joining them are the club’s head professional Rafael Coutinho, once a top South American tennis player, and staff professionals Frank Suarez and Marc Roura.
Those who visited Eastside Tennis Academy back when it was open will notice that while the layout of the club is largely the same, the courts and clubhouse have been completely repaired and look better than they have in years. “It has been redesigned and refurbished in the same footprint,” McDonald says. “But it’s not a reopening, it’s a new opening of a new club.”
One of the major changes to the space is that some of the tennis courts have been transformed into standalone pickleball courts, which brings the club’s total courts to 11 Har-Tru tennis courts and four pickleball courts. There’s also a spectacular clubhouse, comfortable viewing lounge upstairs and an enticing pro shop.
McDonald explains that the owners are locals who envisioned Tennis at the Barn as a complement to other tennis clubs in the area. “The better we do, the better they do. I think there’s enough room for a club like us, which I think will really benefit the entire community and not detract from any other property,” he says. “The more people who are playing with us, the more they’re going to play at other properties, as well. It’s a win-win for everybody, including the people playing. I think the clubs are all in this together; we’re not ‘partners’ partners, but we’re all trying to promote the game and the sport.”
Part of the reason Tennis at the Barn can coexist with other clubs is its emphasis on being a family-friendly club that’s inviting to all ages, from little kids to grandparents. “We’re really catering to a family environment,” McDonald says, adding that while this is a membership club, non-member families are more than welcome to rent courts on a pay-to-play basis.
Open seven days a week, Tennis at the Barn’s programs and social events are already well underway and are expected to grow as more and more families discover this Westhampton gem. “The programs are being very well-received, so everyone is really enjoying what we’re doing so far, and we hope to see more people out there,” McDonald notes, adding that those interested shouldn’t wait to check the club out, as the outdoor tennis and pickleball season comes to end when the East End begins to chill after Labor Day.
Tennis at the Barn is located at 142 Montauk Highway, Westhampton. To learn more, visit tennisatthebarn.com.