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Steve Zalinksi


Steve Zalinski, a native of Chicago, received a scholarship to play tennis for DePaul University where he became a top ranked player and was inducted into the DePaul Athletic Hall of Fame for his outstanding play, sportsmanship and leadership. Zalinksi was the number 1 ranked player in Chicago several times during the 1960s and 1970s, and was the 1981 USTA National Parks singles and doubles champion. He served as the Head Tennis Professional at the Lake Forest Club in Chicago, where he met his wife, Kathy. He also served as the Manager and Director of the MidTown Tennis Club which is the world’s largest indoor tennis club with 18 indoor tennis courts.

Zalinski and his family moved to South Carolina in 1992, when he became the Vice President of Sales for Dunlop, a position he held for 18 years. After moving from Chicago, it didn’t take long for Zalinksi to shape a name for himself in the tennis community in South Carolina. He worked with the Palmetto Championships in Belton to develop the Dunlop Scholarship which recognizes an incoming college freshman who has participated in junior tennis in South Carolina. In 1996, the Zalinskis received the USTA SC Tennis Family of the Year Award. He has served on the board of the Lowcountry Youth Tennis Association and the Lowcountry Tennis Association. He frequently volunteers his time with Family Circle Cup, which is now the Volvo Car Open. After retiring from Dunlop in 2007, Zalinksi joined the USTA Southern Section staff as the Tennis Service Representative for South Carolina, a position he held for 10 years before retiring earlier this year. As a Tennis Service Representative, he worked tirelessly to promote tennis in schools, 10 and Under events and adaptive tennis. He frequently spoke to the parents of junior players on various topics including the importance of good sportsmanship and having fun while playing.

Steve Zalinksi knows many people in the tennis world and treats everyone equally whether they are the USTA President or a parent of a 10 & Under player. He was voted the Nicest Male in the Tennis Industry by Tennis Week Magazine in 1999 and received the 2011 USTA Southern Marilyn Sherman Spirit Award. He received a Special Recognition Award from USTA SC in 2016, an award that recognizes an individual or group that has made an exceptional contribution to the sport of tennis in South Carolina.

Zalinksi has coached many juniors, including his three daughters Kelly, Courtney and Shannon. They all played the USTA junior tournament circuit and earned tennis scholarships to Notre Dame, University of North Carolina and Western Carolina. Over the years they received multiple awards for their skills as well as their sportsmanship. Steve comes from a tennis family. Both of his parents were ranked #1 during the 1930s and he learned the value of sportsmanship from his mother. His rule is that regardless of what happens during a match, you always look your opponent in the eye when you shake their hand. Zalinksi has become much like a dad to many of his players and he truly believes tennis is the greatest sport on earth, and wants everyone to learn how to play.