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The red clay of Albany

Delmar resident manages Albany Tennis Center and its unique courts

Albany Tennis Center manager Larry Yakubowski, left, shows John Tomer proper form on a backhand shot Saturday morning at Ridgefield Park. The Delmar resident runs a facility that features the only clay courts in the Capital District.

Albany Tennis Center manager Larry Yakubowski, left, shows John Tomer proper form on a backhand shot Saturday morning at Ridgefield Park. The Delmar resident runs a facility that features the only clay courts in the Capital District. Photo by Rob Jonas.

— Larry Yakubowski is running a hidden gem in the Capital District.

The Delmar resident is the manager and head tennis pro at the Albany Tennis Club – home to the only red clay courts in the region.

“They’re our prized clay courts, and it’s unusual (for this area),” said Yakubowski. “They’re very well maintained, and it’s a very comfortable surface to play on.”

Yakubowski has played on the red clay courts in Albany’s Ridgefield Park since the early 1990s and worked as a tennis pro at the club several years ago before taking the manager’s post at the start of 2012.

“I didn’t pursue the job so much as it became available,” said Yakubowski. “I love the club, and I wanted to make sure the club was managed well. And I think I can provide that.”

Yakubowski has been in demand as a tennis coach for the better part of two decades. He started by working with the Bethlehem Parks and Recreation Department, he’s worked with the Troy Racquet Club and he coaches the Doane Stuart tennis program.

“I just love working for the Parks and Recreation Department here and sharing my knowledge with other people in town,” said Yakubowski, who is maintaining his roles in Bethlehem and at Doane Stuart while managing the Albany Tennis Center. He added that he did have to reduce his available days in Bethlehem from two to one per week in order to take the manager’s position in Albany, but he is happy that he can continue his coaching role in town.

Yakubowski’s first goal at the Albany Tennis Center is to increase membership to help off-set the costs of maintaining the eight clay courts in the heart of Albany’s Pine Hills neighborhood.

“The memberships are very important because the clay courts are very expensive to maintain, and we’re a not-for-profit organization,” said Yakubowski.

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