HOUSTON - ATP World Tour players participating in this week’s Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship are teaming up with tournament organizers to help refurbish hurricane damaged tennis courts at the City of Houston’s Sunnyside Park.
The two courts at the park were under water last summer when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. The facility is one of 44 locally where the Houston Tennis Association (HTA) holds National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) programs.
Six players participating in this week’s tournament donated to the court refurbishment – Bob Bryan, Mike Bryan, John Isner, Steve Johnson, Sam Querrey and Frances Tiafoe – and they took time to visit the park and meet children at NJTL clinics this week. Watch a video about the visit
“We've been coming to Houston for 20 years” said six-time US Clay doubles champion Mike Bryan. "To see it hit that hard was obviously a very sad moment. We're happy to be able to help."
"We're 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.
The Sunnyside Courts are set to be resurfaced this summer, thanks in large part to the donations of these players and the organizers of the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship.
“These kids will remember the day they got to hit with this country’s top ATP players,” said Emily Schaefer, NJTL Program Director for the HTA. “When they get to play on the resurfaced tennis courts these pros made possible it will be a constant reminder of their support.”
The U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship has named the HTA’s NJTL programming the beneficiary of the tournament. 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.
“Hurricane Harvey hit while last year’s US Open was underway, and even during that Grand Slam, these players who are so loyal to our event were checking in with us and asking how they could help,” said Tournament Director Bronwyn Greer. “With the HTA’s NJTL chapter already being our tournament beneficiary, we wanted do what we could to help ensure their programming would continue with minimal interruption.”
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 City of 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.
The Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship continues at River Oaks Country Club through Sunday.