Portland tennis courts getting makeover in honor of tennis star - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland tennis courts getting makeover in honor of UO tennis star

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A Portland park is receiving a makeover in honor of a celebrated athlete who died in a cliff diving accident earlier this year.

Alex Rovello, a star tennis player at the University of Oregon, died after diving off a cliff at an Oregon waterfall, but his family and friends will soon have a permanent reminder of the man who they say touched hundreds of lives.

They're raising money to renovate two neglected tennis courts at Berkeley Park in southeast Portland.

Brent Chin, a former teammate, turned out Sunday to support Rovello's family, who have partnered with Portland Parks and Recreation to resurface the courts and improve the grounds. It's an effort many consider a fitting tribute to Rovello.

"This is where he grew up, where he started playing and other kids are going to grow up and play at the same courts that he started on," Chin said.

At Cleveland High School, Rovello became the first tennis player in Oregon history to win four state tennis championships. He went on to play at the University of Oregon.

"From age 2, he was out here with his dad hitting tennis balls," said Derin Hibbs, Rovello's former coach who started coaching him when he was 7 years old.

"The community has been in support of the Rovello family and of Alex while he was growing up and it's been the same support during something like this. It's amazing," Hibbs said.

Hibbs said $60,000 has been raised to fix up the tennis courts with a goal set at $175,000.

Portland parks officials said the renovation will help meet the growing demand for tennis and improve the quality of the courts to national standards in honor of Rovello.

Donations for the project can be made to the Alex Rovello Memorial Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank.

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