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Westport Pro Comes with Strings Attached

Strings are the thing for Dave Kardas. Whether it's a tennis racquet or guitar, the Tennis Director for Westport Parks and Recreation is adept at handling each. "You could say I have strings attached,'' Dave says.

He is most familiar to Westport residents for his work on the tennis courts. He directs the multitude of offerings by Parks and Recreation, for players from ages 3 to 83. Kardas came to Westport 17 years ago and has been the director for the last 10 years. "It's just a great spot to be,'' Dave says. "There are a lot of offerings, and there are a lot of tennis players in town."

Kardas runs clinics, but he also organizes tournaments. The Junior Town Tournament Singles for boys and girls ages 10-17 will be played later this month, and nearly every weekend in July features competition. "You can't indulge the whole place in clinics,'' Kardas says. "I think we have a pretty good balance."

Kardas also runs the shop at Longshore Club Park, where players can purchase equipment and have racquets re-strung. He is also an accomplished player who competes in USTA events. He's on the staff at Fairfield County Tennis, which offers tennis instruction in nine different towns that reaches nearly 2,500 tennis players. Kardas taught at resorts in Jamaica and Barbados, among others. He started playing tennis at age 9, but didn't compete for his high school team. It wasn't until later that he began playing competitively. When he's not on the tennis court, his other interest is the guitar, which he plays for a group that performs in New York City.

He gets his greatest satisfaction from working with children, but treats them carefully. "You can't push them so hard that they hate tennis,'' he says. "You can make them do it, but they won't be good at it if they don't want to do it."

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