Richard Zausner, the president and director of the Port Washington Tennis Academy for more than four decades and a Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame inductee, died on July 12. He was 87.
Zausner, in a 2017 interview with Blank Slate Media, said he would be a part of the Port Washington academy his father had founded in 1966 until the very end. Zausner began working at the academy as a young man and said one of his main goals was to help children on and off the court.
“It’s all about using tennis as a way of furthering your goals,” he said. “That’s the goal.”
Zausner was born in Manhattan in 1934 and developed a passion for sports at a young age. He went to the Bronx School of Science before attending Syracuse University. After college he served two years in the United States Navy and went on to have a career in real estate before taking over the tennis academy.
The academy, which is the largest indoor tennis facility on the East Coast with 17 indoor courts and a 1/4-mile track, was created as a nonprofit facility not only to help children but Port Washington, too. The tennis academy primarily trains children from ages 4 to 18, but also offers a variety of adult programs as well, including singles play, doubles play and private lessons.
Some of the academy’s notable figures who trained there include John McEnroe, Vitas Gerulaitis, Mary Carillo and more.
Zausner, who lived in the Port Washington area since the early 1970s, said the academy donates to over a dozen local nonprofit organizations, including the Community Chest of Port Washington, the Port Washington Parent Resource Center, the Port Washington Counseling Center, the Port Washington Senior Center and more.
In addition to Zausner’s constant work with the tennis academy, he served as the chairman of the United States Tennis Association Eastern Division’s Junior Tournament Rules & Discipline Committee. He also organized showcases for college and junior tennis players and provided them with knowledge and information about the game and their future endeavors.
Many of those who attended the academy and worked with Zausner ended up receiving full or partial scholarships to colleges that they would not have been able to afford otherwise. Some were also introduced to coaches from Ivy League schools, expanding professional opportunities once their tennis careers ended.
Zausner received the “For the Love of Tennis” Achievement Award, named after Gerulaitis, in 2016 and was inducted into the United States Tennis Association Eastern Hall of Fame in 2017.
“It’s a very nice honor to be named to the Hall of Fame,” Zausner said in 2017. “This is all about kids and education.”
In a tweet Friday, the association said: “USTA Eastern sends our condolences to the family of the late Dick Zausner. A member of the Eastern Tennis Hall of Fame and director of Port Washington Tennis, Dick made an indelible mark on the Long Island tennis community.”
Zausner is survived by his brothers Martin and Michael, his sister Susan Zausner Kominski, his son David Fischbach, his nieces Madison and Isabella Kominski, and his nephew Nicholas Komisnki.