Billie Jean King Tennis Center

Facility Spotlight – Billie Jean King Tennis Center

There’s no doubt March is one of the busiest months of the year at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center. But that’s just how Cathy Jacobson-Guzy likes it.

Just two years ago, Jacobson-Guzy celebrated 30 years working at the popular Long Beach facility she now runs, having starting working there fresh out of collegCathy Jacobson-Guzye back in 1983 as a teaching pro.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh and an accomplished prep and collegiate player, it didn’t take long for Jacobson-Guzy to realize right away that Long Beach was where she wanted to settle down and work and live for good.

“I love what I do and I’m very fortunate to do what I do,” Jacobson-Guzy said. “I got out here out of college and fell in love with everything about Southern California. I knew I wanted to spend my career in tennis, but I didn’t want to do it indoors.”

Back in 2001, Jacobson-Guzy formed First Serve Tennis, Inc., and has been operating and directing all the Parks and Recreational programming for the City of Long Beach at both the Billie Jean King Tennis Center and the El Dorado Park Tennis Center as the sole proprietor since 1995.

On two consecutive upcoming weekends (March 7-8, March 14-15), Jacobson-Guzy will help run the 58th annual Long Beach Junior Tournament, a level 3 event (link here: http://tennislink.usta.com/Tournaments/TournamentHome/Tournament.aspx?T=160348).

On March 28, the Billie Jean King Tennis Center will host its popular Wilson Demo Day.

The Billie Jean King Tennis Center has a rich and storied history of more than 50 years when the Long Beach Patrons helped contribute to travel funds for Long Beach-Poly High’s Billie Jean Moffitt. To this day, Jacobson-Guzy is proud of her connection and friendship with one of the game’s all-time greats.

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“I first met her back in 1991 when we formed King’s Aces, to manage the tennis center where she learned how to play tennis,” Jacobson-Guzy said. “She has been back on several occasions, including four years ago when ESPN did a TV show on her called ‘Home Coming’, kind of a ‘This is Your Life,’ and we had five or six hundred people here on stadium court, including Zina Garrison, Maria Sharapova and Rosie Casals.”

Jacobson-Guzy continued on about her good friend King. “Back in the mid-90s I really got to know her and spent four days straight with her. She’s the most incredible person I’ve ever met, and I’m proud that I can call her a friend. She has a great sense of humor and is not only fun to be around, but it’s an honor and a treat to be in her presence. Her enthusiasm and passion gets you so fired up and excited about growing the game.”

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First Serve operates six sanctioned tournaments each year and the current junior program has more than 70 kids involved and is led by BJK TC head pro Valter Paiva.

“We have a full-service pro shop and are known for our customer service,” Jacobson-Guzy said.

She added: “I love what I do and I love giving back. I’m anxious to keep growing the game.”

Three years ago, Jacobson-Guzy was named to the University of Pittsburgh Hall of Fame, and last year was recognized with the same honor by the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.

“If you do something long enough, you’ll start getting recognized for it, I guess,” she said, modestly.

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Last May 3 was declared as “Cathy Jacobson-Guzy Day” in the City of Pittsburgh signifying the Hall of Fame honor, and she was presented with a proclamation by the City of Pittsburgh.

Jacobson-Guzy is especially proud of her current teaching staff, and recently wrote the following bios on each of them:

ABIGAIL “ABA” VILLENA, USPTA Certified: “Aba” has been teaching tennis in Southern California for the past 10 years. Since 1996, has served on the Wilson Advisory Staff. Abigail has worked with many top junior girls developing their game and guiding them through their sectional rankings and national rankings before they moved on to continue their tennis career as scholarship players at top-ranked colleges and universities. Among these players are Lyndsay Kinstler (USC), Alison Ramos, Audrey Bulkley (LMU) and many up and comers.

VALTER PAIVA, USPTA Certified: Valter Paiva is currently the Head Pro at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center and Founder and Director of the Valter Paiva Tennis Academy. He started at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in 2005.  He runs all the seasonal camps throughout the year including our extremely successful Junior Summer Camp. Valter was a nationally ranked top five player in Brazil and ranked among the top three players in São Paulo as a junior. He currently coaches four teams that compete in USTA junior team tennis. He offers private and group lessons as well as instructional clinics for adults of all levels.

DOMINGO MAURICIO: Domingo has been a certified teaching pro since 1976. He is a Yonex Team Member and on their Advisory staff. He has worked and coached touring pros, top nationally ranked open junior players and collegiate players. Domingo offers private and group lessons and advanced workouts.

SCHERAQ HASSIM, USPTA Certified: Scheraq started as one of our pro shop staff 10 years ago. He currently is a USPTA certified tennis professional and teaches private lessons and helps train the advanced players in Domingo’s Junior Player Development program. He runs his Friday Night Twilight Tennis Drop-in program and a Yoga & Tennis workout on Sunday morning. Flexibility – Agility – Balance – Strength – Tennis Drills.

Billie Jean King Tennis Center Rundown:

  • No. of Courts: 8 hard courts, all lighted.
  • Website: www.longbeachtennis.com.
  • Phone: (562) 438-8509
  • Address: 1040 Park Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90804
  • Events: Wilson Demo Day on March 28; Long Beach Patrons Tournament March 7-8, March 14-15.
  • Email for more information: Cathy Jacobson-Guzy at first.serve@verizon.net.
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