Hi I'm Nicolai Schwarzkopf. I'm a 28-year-old real estate developer from Atlanta. Since moving to New York in January, I have attacked the TennisNewYork.com (Manhattan / Brooklyn Tennis League) circuit hard, winning two championships in the summer league and the July tournament. I moved up from "Competitive 3.5" to "Advanced 4.0", and I have my sights set on "Elite". Then maybe Wimbledon, who knows...
I admit, I'm a little obsessed with tennis right now. Most weeks, my happiness revolves around tennis. I love playing around the city, from Central Park, to Queens, to along the Hudson river. The setting is always amazing and it gives me a special way to explore the city, as I ride my bike to and from matches. My grandparents introduced me to tennis at a young age. I enjoyed it, but I was more suited for football, which I played from middle school through college. Once football was over, tennis became my competitive outlet. I traded hitting other players for hitting a serve as hard as I can, then rushing the net and using my height to my advantage as I try to slam a winner. My style may not be as pretty as Federer's, but it's worked for me so far. Which league are you a member of?
I like the flexibility of playing whenever possible. It is
usually easy to schedule a match if you send a mass email a day or two in
Tell us about your most memorable match(es).
So far, it has to be winning the July Tourney against
Shantanu Godbole. Shantanu is a really good player but for some reason, I hit
every shot the way I wanted to that day, and I won pretty easily. I just felt
"on" that day! And got a pretty sweet trophy as a result.
Who are your favorite rivals in the league? Why?
I wouldn't say I've played anyone enough times to warrant a
rivalry. But the first time I played Harry Richardson, he beat me, and it
disappointed me because I thought I should have played better. So when I played
Harry again in the Summer Competitive playoffs quarterfinals, I was excited to
get a chance at redemption - we played 3 sets and I barely won, but it was a
Do you have any other interesting comments about your
experiences with the league?
Would be nice to have more tournaments or possibly weekend
round robins. I'm all about competition, although it's nice to play some
"regular season" matches too.
How did you get started playing tennis?
My grandparents played, and I would go to tennis camps
during the summers when I visited them in Savannah. So I learned the
fundamentals growing up, then I stopped playing for about 10 years while I
focused on football (which I played from middle school through college)
10. What level player are you? (NTRP rating)
4.0 (3.5 on a bad day, 4.5 on a good day)
What do you love about tennis?
Fun to play
Combination of mental and physical challenge
Tennis culture (the pro players, tournaments, history,
Who are your favorite pro players? Why?
Probably Federer, even though my style is nothing like his.
I wish it was, because he makes the game look beautiful.
Tom Trotter is probably one of the most passionate and hardest promoting players in all of Tennis League Network. We absolutely love his dedication to the game and helping us try to grow the program. Which league are you a member of?
The league makes it easy to meet new
tennis opponents. The flexibility of scheduling and playing matches. The
generally high quality people one meets and interacts with through the
league. The online record keeping. The End Of Year National (now the East
Coast) tournament at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on Key Biscayne in Miami.
Tell us about your most memorable
They're all memorable in some way.
Who are your favorite rivals in the
I like playing people who are
generally better players than me but who I'm competitive with. I usually learn
the most from these sorts of matches.
Do you have any other interesting
comments about your experiences with the league?
The league has been a continual
source of new friends and valued acquaintances. It's one of the most important
components of my lifestyle, which keeps me engaged, and active, and about as
fit and healthy as I can expect to be at my age. It keeps my spirits up.
How did you get started playing
I played almost every day for about
a year when I was in my late 20s. Then picked it back up again when I
moved to Fort Lauderdale in 2009. I was just hitting against a practice
wall a couple of times a month when, one day in March 2012, I noticed the flyer
advertising the Tennis Fort Lauderdale affiliate of the Tennis League Network.
What level player are you? (NTRP
I'm a 3.0. But I feel that I'm
on the cusp of transitioning into a solid 3.5. (Though I might have to go
bionic to achieve that.)
What do you love about tennis?
The skill involved in hitting the
ball well, consistently. The generally high quality people one meets
through tennis. The fact that it's regularly televised and very popular
throughout the world. It keeps me regular. It complements my
Who are your favorite pro players?
Ken Rosewall, because of his super
solid style of play, and the fact that he was a top world class player for
almost 25 years in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, and John
McEnroe for their styles of play. And, of course, Roger Federer.
Tell us a little bit about yourself,
for example: What do you do? Where did you grow up? What are your hobbies
(besides tennis)? Feel free to share any interesting details about your life.
I'm retired. Was born and
raised in the Cincinnati area. My other hobbies are composing music on
and electronic keyboards, and
painting (acrylics and watercolors).