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Interview with King Van Nostrand

King of the Court


Interview with King Van Nostrand, first-ever recipient of the USTA Long Island Region’s Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award.


While the LI Region has held its Annual Awards Dinner for 24 years, certain awards have been added over time to honor the particular individuals. One example is the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award, first presented in 1997 to a man who continues to be a King of the Court.


King Van Nostrand, who will turn 80 this June, was a fixture in LI tennis until he and wife, Yvonne (known as Boots), retired to Florida in 2001. The following is a transcript of an interview with Mr. Van Nostrand conducted by “On the Ball: News from LI”:


Yvonne (Boots) and I each grew up in Long Island's Suffolk County, she on the North shore in Kings Park and me on the other side in the Bay Shore area.  We met at college, Cortland State, and were married our senior year.  We had four children, all college scholarship tennis players, two were NCAA  All-Americas and the same two successful professional tour tennis players.  I taught mathematics in the Bay Shore system for thirty years, retiring in 1989, and tennis in the summers.


By 1997, in spite of several scope jobs, shots, braces, acupuncture, etc. all the usual attempts to remain competitive, I needed knee replacements.  Up to then I had won 20 or so USTA gold ball nationals, three ITF World singles championships, one ITF world doubles title and was part of at least seven winning ITF team titles for the USA.  This procedure was my last resort and I had accepted the fact of perhaps not ever competing again. 


Both knees were done together in November 1997 and after about four months of rehab I was back playing again (soft courts only), but soon at flank speed.  In 1998, we bought in Vero Beach and moved there full time in '01.  Since that time I have won six more ITF World Singles championships: 2004, Philadelphia (grass), 2005, Altalya Turkey (clay), 2008 Turkey, 2009 Perth (grass), 2010 and 2011, both in Turkey.  I tied the record of winning four in a row.  The last two years I was runner up in the singles, in Croatia and Austria, both on clay. 


don't  often play doubles but did manage to win five more ITF World doubles: 2001 in Perth, 2002, Austria, '08 and '11, Turkey and last year in Austria. 

My team results, usually playing the top singles position for the USA, have us winning the Britannia Cup in '01 and '02 (Perth and Austria), The Crawford Cup '04 & '05 (Phil. & Turkey) and The Bitsy Grant Cup in '09, '10, '11 and '13 (Perth, Turkey, Turkey and Czech rep.)  So career wise that totals nine ITF world singles championships, six doubles and 15 team titles.  My world ITF singles record is 137 wins and 8 losses, in doubles 38-4.


In 2006 one of my knees broke down so I had it replaced again.  Then two years ago the other one wore out so it, too, was redone.  As I turn 80, Father Time is surely slowing me down but not in the knees.


For the record that event I just finished last weekend (March 1st, 2014) in St. Petersburg (Fla.) was my 52nd consecutive USTA Florida singles tournament I have won since moving here in 2001, totaling 189 wins and zero losses, with all but one match in straight sets.


I could not have done any of this alone.  My wife, Boots, was in my corner all the way.  She is my practice partner, dietician, scout, masseuse, trainer and shrink, as well as my lover of 59 years.  In 2004 (Philadelphia) she also won the ITF World singles crown.  We made senior tennis history when, as husband and wife, we each captured those coveted titles.