R5 Westchester at Work

The Gig                       Tennis Pro

Name                          Steve Benjamin

Title                            Summer Employment: Head Pro, Willow Ridge Country Club in Harrison

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Winter Employment: Director of Tournament Training, Stadium Racquet Club in the Bronx

Hometown                  White Plains

 

 

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Income

Steve Benjamin, 42, earns about $80,000 a year, which is significantly more than the $59,000 Northeast tennis pros earn on average each year, according to the Tennis Industry Association. He gets $50,000 heading up Willow Ridge Country Club’s tennis program from April through October and $30,000 directing the tournament training program at Stadium Racquet Club from November through March. Benjamin, a pro for 19 years, works about 65 hours a week in the summer and about 48 hours a week in the winter.

 

The attraction

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“I discovered my true talents and fell in love with tennis playing for Bridgeport University,” Benjamin says. He started coaching and playing tournaments after receiving his BA in Finance.
He also passed a test to be certified by the United States Professional Tennis Association.

 

It’s not all fun and games

“Teaching tennis is hard work. Being on the court ten hours a day in one-hundred degree heat is not cushy. And I’m not just feeding balls—I am teaching my students how to play and how to construct points.”

 

The health regimen

For his work, Benjamin, who’s 5’8” and weighs 165 pounds, plays about ten hours of tennis a week (an hour of tennis burns about 550 calories). He also works out two or three days a week for about an hour-and-a-half at a time, jumping rope, doing leg lunges, and using the bench press and stationary bike. He drinks five 20-ounce bottles of water a day, and eats a diet that is about 50 percent protein. 

 

The physical hazards

“I’m never sick, and the only injury I’ve had—tennis elbow—I’ve gotten cortisone shots for and just played through it. When I’m sore, I still play. Everybody’s different, but I anticipate I have at least ten more years of being able to play this much tennis. Then I’ll move more into directing programs.”

 

Pairs of tennis shoes needed

About 18 a year. Benjamin prefers Nike’s Air Max Breathe Free II, which retail for about $110. “They’re the most stable and well-made. You see the least amount of injuries with them.”

 

Number of racquets used

About six annually. His favorite: Babolat’s Pure Control Team Plus racquet, which sells for around $179. “It’s a solid racquet that gives a lot of control. Lots of the pros use it.”

 

Hanky panky on the court

“I make it very clear that I am not available because I want to keep my job; my job is my priority.”

 

 

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