7 ATP Players Donate to Renovate Damaged Houston Courts
October 11, 2018
HOUSTON—The two tennis courts at Sunnyside Park, one of the 44 neighborhood facilities where the Houston Tennis Association (HTA) holds NJTL programs, got a major facelift in September, thanks in part to the generosity of seven ATP World Tour players participating in the April 2018 Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship at River Oaks Country Club.
The grand opening and ribbon cutting of the Sunnyside Community Center’s newly resurfaced courts with new nets and windscreens, was attended by city, parks department and local tennis officials.
The two courts at the park were under water last summer when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston.
Through the tournament, ATP stars Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, John Isner, Steve Johnson, Sam Querrey, Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock committed to donate funds to the resurfacing project. In addition, most of them, along with ESPN Tennis commentator Brad Gilbert, visited Sunnyside during the tournament week to meet with NJTL participants.
“The transformation of these courts is really incredible to see,” said Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship Tournament Director Bronwyn Greer. “We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with these ATP stars to make a direct and tangible impact on the youth in our community. I’m eager to share the results with these players and hope we can make a return visit with them next April.”
“We’ve been coming to Houston for 20 years” said six-time US Clay doubles champion Mike Bryan in April. “To see it hit that hard was obviously a very sad moment. We were happy to be able to help.”
“We were happy to donate a little bit to make them fresh, make them new and give kids a place to hang out after school,” added his twin brother Bob.
“These kids will remember the day they got to hit with this country’s top ATP players,” said Emily Schaefer, Houston Parks and Recreation Department NJTL Program Director. “The new courts are a constant reminder of the pros’ support.”
Led by the $21,500 contribution from the players, additional support came from Houston Tennis Association NJTL, HTA, Council Member Dwight A. Boykins of District D (Sunnyside’s location), Houston Parks and Recreation Department and the Houston Parks Board, who managed the project.
The HTA’s NJTL programming is the beneficiary of the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship tournament, which occurs annually in Houston at the River Oaks Country Club. This refurbishment project is part of that relationship, which also includes a portion of the tournament proceeds annually being donated to fund these local programs as well as support of the HTA’s annual Kids Day in Memorial Park.
The NJTL programs, which were founded by 1967 US Clay champion Arthur Ashe, are designed to develop the character of children through tennis and education. In Houston a collaboration between the HTA and the Houston Parks & Recreation Department sees more than 6,000 kids participate annually in NJTL programs throughout the city. Nationally, NJTL programs are supported by the United States Tennis Association Foundation.