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Tournament Will Reach Out to ‘Net Gen’

Posted: August 15, 2019

Young tennis fans will get to learn about the game again this October when the NorthBay Healthcare Men’s Pro Championship returns to Solano Community College.

The professional tournament benefits the Chris Cammisa Tennis and Education Foundation, a nonprofit that not only helped establish the men’s and women’s tennis programs at SCC, but also provides tennis and a related educational program to underserved youth in Solano County.

One of the ways of reaching out to youth during the tournament is by using the U.S. Tennis Association’s Net Generation Program. The mission of “Net Gen” is to introduce children to tennis, a sport they might not normally be exposed to but could potentially play the rest of their lives. Racquets, balls and pop-up nets are all provided.

Children play with equipment that fits their size and age and they get to meet an instructor and ask questions. Last year, co-tournament director Rafael Rovira, the tennis coach at Solano, ran the Kids’ Day “Net Gen” program on a Friday evening during the 2018 event with local children from The Leaven in Fairfield. The plan this year is to host another worthy group again with Northern California pro instructor Michael Friedman leading the instruction.

The goal of the USTA is to build its community involvement and grow the future of tennis through its “next generation.” It allows children to get involved beyond the gates of area country clubs.

Rafael and Troy Rondeau, a youth tennis specialist with the USTA’s NorCal Chapter, reached out to local schools in 2018 by bringing the Net Gen program to schools in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District. Many of the schools were given a $1,000 Net Gen package featuring the racquets, balls and popup nets for use in their own physical education classes.

“The USTA is using our Challenger tournament, along with others, to showcase this activity and show how NorCal is involved in its communities,” Rafael said. “The kids will be able to participate and then sit with their parents and watch the matches. Some will be selected to take the court on Friday, and Sunday during the finals, and be coin flippers or walk the players out onto the court.”

The $100,000 NorthBay Healthcare Men’s Pro Championship is part of the Association of Tennis Professionals’ Challenger series and features many of the top up-and-coming players from around the world. There will 48 singles players and 16 doubles teams competing beginning Monday, Oct. 7 and running through Sunday, Oct. 13.

The NorthBay tournament is the final leg of the men’s worldwide Association of Tennis Professionals Challenger Tour’s swing through Northern California

Tickets for the seven-day tournament will go on sale once the schedule is finalized this fall. All seating is in close proximity to the courts. There are also numerous opportunities to be a tournament sponsor, volunteer, and for youth as “Ball Kids,” during the matches.

For information, visit www.FairfieldProTennis.com. Contact tournament director Phil Cello at (707) 853-0915, or via email at Cellotennis@Comcast.net.