PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Tennis courts at Berkeley Park opened Sunday in memory of a local college student who died in a drowning accident in 2013.
The Alex Rovello Memorial Tennis Courts’ opening was marked with a ball serve by his father, Jim Rovello.
Alex, a star tennis player at University of Oregon, was only 21 when he lost his life. Berkeley Park was where his parents said he practiced, going on to win four straight state championships with Cleveland High School.
“It’s a lifetime sport, and that’s what we want people to come out here and enjoy the game of tennis. Maybe fall in love with it the way Alex did,” said Alex’s mother, Geralyn Rovello.
Alex’s parents raided more than $175,000 in just a year to renovate the tennis courts at the park in his memory. Donors included Nike’s Phil Knight and the Portland Parks Bureau.
“We recognize the importance of Alex, and these courts, and the entire tennis community, and we said, ‘yeah let’s jump in together,’” said Portland Parks Director Michael Abbate.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) also made a donation.
“Just the heart that went into this: the unspoken giving, the contractors, everybody – just almost like angels, just came upon and said, ‘this means something,’” said Ruth Turner with USTA.
The Rovellos are still taking donations for more improvements and programs at Berkeley Park.
“We just hope that people will be able to develop and foster the love of tennis as much as what it meant to Alex,” said Geralyn.
For more information on how to donate, visit AlexRovelloMemorial.org.