Avis Feldman

When asked if she thought tennis was a sport you can play your whole life she said, "It's true. In fact, one of my sons—a physician at Boston Medical Center—sent me an article that tennis is a sport that helps people with issues like coordination.

Member Spotlight

Is tennis a sport for a lifetime? 93-year old Avis Feldman says, “It’s true.”


Avis Feldman of Swampscott has been a member of Northshore Tennis from practically the day it opened 53 years ago. "Harold Zimman went around getting people involved. My husband, Merrill and I joined almost from the outset. It was a nominal amount of money to join," according to Avis. "We had three boys, who all played tennis. And Merrill, who was on the club squash team at Harvard, played both squash and tennis."

Avis started playing the game when she was 11 or 12 years old. "I would go to the public court right up the street. Never took tennis lessons. Just went up and played," she remembers.

"My first racquet was wooden. I think it was a Bancroft (a sporting goods company based in Woonsocket, RI)," Avis recalls. "I had one racquet. We used to keep a racquet forever. You stored it in a wooden press. Otherwise, the frame would warp. And we'd also have one can of tennis balls. Now, you play tennis just once and you get a new can of balls." 

Avis gave up the wooden racquet decades ago, but she loves the one she's been playing with for the past few years. "One day, I forgot my racquet, so I tried a demo from (recently retired) John Foley's pro shop. It was like magic." According to club manager Tony Lena, "Her racquet is engineered to add 15% more spin because the strings are spaced further apart than usual." Feldman is dubious about that marketing claim, but nonetheless swears by the racquet.

A 1947 graduate of Brown University (formerly Pembroke), Avis thinks the best part of being a member at Northshore Tennis is the camaraderie." It's been a very social thing for me. A lot of my closest friends are friends I've made on the tennis court here," said Feldman. 

When asked if she thought tennis was a sport you can play your whole life she said, "It's true. In fact, one of my sons—a physician at Boston Medical Center—sent me an article about tennis. The gist of the article was that tennis is a sport that helps people (as they age) with issues like coordination. Tennis is a helpful sport for older folks," said Feldman, "I don't play singles anymore, but doubles is great."

Feldman's game has evolved in recent years. Her serve is one example." I don't know why I started serving underhand. But it's a lot more effective. I get a lot of spin on it and I can control where it goes," said Avis. "I also have a lot of spin on my ground strokes because I hit the ball late and end up slicing it." Her spin shots may be helping her game, but Avis also credits her partners. "When I play matches, I always tend to get the strongest player on my side. Before we begin, I tell my partner to, 'Play like you're playing singles,' so you can cover the whole court," she says with a wry smile. Avis plays every Monday and Friday morning at Northshore Tennis. If you see her on the courts, make sure to say, "Hello." And if you ever have Avis as your doubles partner, remember this: Avis expects you to cover most of the court.