Finding a playing partner on the Web is akin to dating online; there’s a lot of truth-stretching. Just as people promise they’re taller and less gray than in reality, tennis players exaggerate just how wicked their backhand is—if they even have a backhand. Luckily, a few New York–centric Websites and leagues make reliable matchmakers. Each requires either a National Tennis Rating Program rating (from 1.0 for a beginner to 7.0 for a Federer) or an initial lesson with an instructor to figure out your true skill level.
Tennistip’s 5,000-plus members play in clinics set up by skill level (you fill out a detailed form online and are assigned a group), attend eat-and-play parties, and join clinics run by the site’s ten pros. You can also join daily lessons held at several public courts and clubs in the city. It’s free to sign up, with various fees only for court times and lessons.
A mammoth league, Metrotennis organizes the USTA’s amateur-adult teams as well as corporate tournaments and socials (complete with beer after play). You are sorted by level of play during tryouts. If you’re a total novice, you can join the recently relaunched beginner’s lessons.
This socially driven league has only about 200 members, who play constantly all over the city (fees are split between players) and meet for monthly lasagne feeds. This isn’t for total newbies; it’s geared toward intermediate players and better, who can jump into games and have an understanding, even if basic, of the rules and strategy.