The small bar stationed across the check-in to the first Hamptons Summer Classic Players Party was a most excellent idea. But, we felt for the 36 tennis pros and amateurs competing the next day. That was projection. We hate to party without drinking, and would hate a sports competition the next day (or any day, for that matter). “They’re pros,” we were told, by event organizer Chris McCormack, Vice President of GSE Worldwide, the talent representation and sports marketing agency that came up with the idea “to put on the most competitive Pro/Am in the world” the week before the US Open. Their Saturday sponsor-driven private party was at the home of Eileen and Liad Meidar.
Sixteen of the top ranked professional tennis players paired up and squared off with Hamptons “Ams,” amateurs who McCormack said had one thing in common: “They are all crazy tennis nuts! This type of event, where they can partner up, never existed before. We had six people on our waiting list hoping to get in.”
“I’ve been wanting to start this for a while,” McCormack continued. “There’s this US hardcourt swing that goes from Wimbledon right through to the US Open. A lot of these players play four or five tournaments. It’s a grind. If you lose early, your only option is to go to the Grand Hyatt in Midtown and commute to Queens for ten days before the Open starts. Taking advantage of that time, we wanted to create an event for the players to go out to the Hamptons, spend a week here, train for the US Open, and recharge their batteries before the last Grand Slam of the year.”
And so, they were able to attract 15 top ranked professional tennis players including: Stefanos Tsitsipas (current top 5), Daniil Medvedev (current top 10), Karen Khachanov (current top 10), Grigor Dimitrov (former top 3, but injured this year), Kyle Edmund (number 1 UK player, top 15 last year), Feliciano Lopez (former top 15, ATP winner in 2019), Sam Querrey (former top 15), Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan (the greatest doubles team ever), Fernando Verdasco (top Spanish player and Davis Cup winner), Tommy Paul (top American up and comer, winner of Junior French).
Besides GSE, they also attracted sponsors including: Mr. Porter, Grey Goose, Creed, East, Gatemore, Fleurs de Paris, Sixty West, Lenox Advisors and 15 SOF. Mr. Porter, an upscale online retail destination for men’s style, hosted a cocktail party Friday evening in Montauk, at the home of Mr. Porter Style Council member, Matt Albiani. “We’re really thrilled to participate as a sponsor in the Hamptons Summer Classic,” their US Editor, Chris Wallace, told us, “and to spend some quality time with the players on and off the court – which we’ll share across Mr. Porter’s editorial and social channels. I also took full advantage of our same-day delivery in the Hamptons to make sure I had everything I needed for the occasion.”
After the competition, Chris said, “One of our jobs is to make certain the pros have a really good stay. We’ll help organize practice courts, set up them at a gym and rounds of golf in Shinnecock. We want to hold their hands in year one and make sure they walk away a week from now feeling, not only did they have fun and meet interesting people, but were well-prepared for the US Open.”