Hampshire Country Club’s loss is the Larchmont business community’s gain: Allen Ruttley, the former tennis pro at the club will soon be opening Anzac Sports, at 2085 Boston Post Road, the long-time home of Clocks of the World. The shop will start out specializing in equipment for racquet sports and will be one of the few dealers in Westchester to carry Lacoste brand clothing, footwear and tennis gear.
The store had its “soft opening” on Thursday, April 8, and will have an official grand opening on April 25, which is Australian ANZAC Day. That’s when the country pays tribute to members of the Australia New Zealand Army Corps who served in World War I. “It’s like your Memorial Day,” explained Mr. Ruttley in his Aussie accent.
The shop might have opened even earlier, but it’s only a half block from the transformer on Monroe Avenue that was downed in the nor’easter on March 13. Power was out until the following Thursday, and delivery of inventories had to be delayed.
But the weather has not interfered with further ambitions for the store.
There are already plans to expand into other sports. Mr. Ruttley said he will be meeting with local coaches over the summer to get their advice. The idea is to find out “how to service the community through the eyes of the coaches and the local parents so we will be doing it the right way,” said Mr. Ruttley.
He will also be teaching tennis in Larchmont this summer. “Luckily for me, Roy Rave, one of the members of Hampshire, has a court in his backyard and he’s offered its use to me so I can continue with my coaching,” said Mr. Ruttley.
Coaching tennis is what Mr. Ruttley has been doing for years – beginning in Australia where he worked with Tony Roche, coach to Ivan Lendl and later Patrick Rafter, Roger Federer.
A job offer opened up at Bailiwick Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. “Lendl had lived in Greenwich and said it was beautiful – so I took the job,” said Mr. Ruttley.
“That was 1989, and I’ve been in this country ever since,” said Mr. Ruttley, who now lives in Norwalk. He gives his age as: “Young enough to still have fun; old enough to know when to draw the line.
Beginning in 1998, Mr. Ruttley was the pro at Hampshire. “I hadn’t expected to be there that long,” he said. “But the membership was friendly and easy going – the environment was extremely comfortable.”
And so he stayed until the end of last year. “I went to Australia on December 19 to visit family and friends – and that’s where I was when I learned that the club had ceased operation,” said Mr. Ruttley. The club is now for sale with an asking price of $14.9 million.
“I think it’s a shame for a club with the views Hampshire has and its facilities to cease operations,” said Mr. Ruttley. “We need someone to step up to the plate and re-open it as a quality golf and tennis facility. When any business like that fails, it’s terrible – it has an effect.”