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Tournament Supports Meaningful Cause

Posted: July 8, 2019

NorthBay Healthcare Men’s Pro Championship brings focus not only to future tennis stars but also the meaningful foundation it benefits.

This year’s fifth edition of the event, set for Oct. 7-13 on the Solano Community College courts, once again will lend financial support to the Dr. Chris Cammisa Tennis and Education Foundation.

Tournament director Phil Cello began the foundation in 2013. The non-profit operates on the college campus, providing programs and facilities to further the academic and athletic opportunities for SCC students, along with programs for young athletes throughout the county.

The men’s program at Solano College was founded in 2015 and the women’s program followed in 2016, thanks to the work of the foundation.

The foundation was renamed in honor of Dr. Chris Cammisa afterChris Cammisa he passed away in 2014. NorthBay Healthcare joined as title sponsor in 2017, honoring the legacy of Dr. Cammisa, who served as its chairman in the department of family practice. He was also chief medical officer at Partnership HealthPlan from 1999 to 2010.

Dr. Cammisa was a long-time sports advocate, volunteering many hours at Vacaville High School, fulfilling its medical needs and also assisting with the tennis program there. The new courts built in 2016 at the Vacaville campus bear his name.

Cello and Dr. Cammisa had known each other for 36 years. Dr. Cammisa was heavily involved with Rancho Solano Country Club when it began and Cello was tennis director at the time. Cello also was a long-time instructor of Cammisa’s daughter Meredith Schaff, who played four years at Vacaville High and also played competitively after graduation.

“He really developed a love of tennis later in life and became very competitive at it,” said Meredith. “He has been honored at the high school level and now at the college level, which is very exciting. I think he would be very pleased by that.”

The foundation began hosting junior and adult tournaments on the Solano courts. Proceeds helped start the college programs. In 2015, the Napa Valley Country Club was dropping its ATP Challenger tournament and Cello was able to move it to Solano County. All revenue from the tournament now supports the foundation.

“There are many well-respected people in the tennis community involved in the foundation and I believe that it is in good hands,” Schaff said. “Dad would be so proud that proceeds are helping kids play tennis through this great platform that may not have been able to do so otherwise.”

Many top up-and-coming stars high in the ATP rankings have played in the Fairfield tournament. A total of 17 were in the recent draw at the French Open.

The Fairfield tournament is the final leg of the men’s worldwide ATP Challenger and USTA Pro Circuit swing through Northern California. It’s a rare opportunity for county residents to watch professional tennis of this caliber up close.

There will be 48 players in singles and 16 teams in doubles. The field of professionals will be finalized in September. Tickets for the seven-day tournament go on sale in the fall. All seats are in close proximity to the courts.

There are also numerous opportunities to be tournament sponsors, volunteers, and for youth, to be “Ball Kids” during the matches.

Sponsor benefits include year-round signage on the college campus courts, live stream public service announcements on the internet during the tournament, space in the annual printed program and Inside Tennis Magazine, and links to the tournament website.

Sponsors also get a number of tickets and VIP seating for matches and mixers, and an opportunity to play alongside Challenger players in a pro-am event that proceeds the tournament.

NorthBay Healthcare holds the title sponsorship for the third consecutive year. Levels still available include Presenting Sponsor ($15,000), Platinum Sponsor ($7,500), Gold Sponsor ($5,000), Silver Sponsor ($2,000), Bronze Sponsor ($1,000) and Community Sponsor ($200). All sponsorships are tax deductible.

For sponsorship opportunities and other information, contact Cello by phone (707) 853-0915, or email, or assistant tournament co-director Rafael Rovira by phone (707) 246-0990, or email at

The tournament website can be found at Tournament news can also be followed at Cammisa Tennis and Education Foundation.