Lights, Local Teen at Tournament

When the $100,000 NorthBay Healthcare Men's Pro Championship returns to Solano Community College Oct. 6-14, it will have more of a connection to NorthBay than just a sponsorship name.

Among those who will compete in the tennis tournament will be Vacaville's Marcus McDaniel, who earlier this year participated in an exhibition match to kick off the tournament promotion efforts. McDaniel is the son of Ellen McDaniel, a longtime nurse and Quality Improvement coordinator with NorthBay. Fairfield Challenger Tournament Director Phil Cello says he will offer Marcus a spot to play in the local tournament. It's a chance for the teen to test his skills against many of the world's best players.

Also new this year, high-powered temporary lights will provide illumination for night matches during the tennis tournament thanks to the work of Bay Area company Green Energy Innovations. A full slate of tennis will be on display during each day session before giving way to a new lighted show court featuring the top doubles and singles matches of the day.

Tickets for the night sessions are available online at www.FairfieldProTennis.com. Night sessions will be held Monday through Friday with day sessions scheduled throughout the entire length of the tournament.

The NorthBay Healthcare tournament is the final leg of the men's worldwide Association of Tennis Professionals Challenger Tour's swing through Northern California. It is one of six tennis tournaments of its kind in the United States and a great opportunity for local fans to watch professional tennis up close.

Photometrics have already been taken to ensure proper lighting for the night matches. The bright bulbs will be affixed to poles and a scissors lift.

"Without the lights, we wouldn't have much of a livelihood during the week," tournament director Phil Cello said. "People work, and without lights, the last match of the day has to be on the court by 4 p.m., and sometimes those matches don't get completed before dark."

Four tournament courts will also have new surfacing thanks to another Bay Area company, Vintage Contractors. The resurfacing project will take place just weeks ahead of the tournament and help ensure a high-quality playing service and venue for spectators, officials and players.

Other improvements to the Solano Community College facility include the addition of new electrical and water lines to the courts, along with landscaping around the vicinity.

The tournament benefits the Dr. Chris Cammisa Tennis and Education Foundation, an organization that not only introduces tennis and a related education program to underserved youth in Solano County, but also helps support the men's and women's programs at Solano Community College.

There are numerous opportunities to be tournament sponsors, volunteers, and for youth to be "Ball Kids" during the matches. For more information, contact Phil by phone at (707) 853-0915, or email at Cellotennis@Comcast.net, or contact assistant director Rafael Rovira by phone at (707) 246-0990, or email at Rafael.Rovira@Solano.edu.