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Memorial tennis tournament honors Alex Rovello

by: RITA A. LEONARD - Parents Geri and Jim Rovello - as well as Mike Rosen, at right - shown at Berkeley Park in Eastmoreland, organized the Portland City Tennis Championships to celebrate the life of athlete Alex Rovello.Eastmoreland’s tennis champion Alex James Rovello, who passed away in a May 11 cliff-diving accident in Linn County, continues to serve the neighborhood.

A September tennis tournament has been organized by family and friends to celebrate his life, and to help restore and repair the Berkeley Park tennis courts, where Alex played for most of his 21 years. More information can be found online: www.AlexRovelloMemorial.org

The Portland City Tennis Championships, a benefit for the Alex Rovello Fund, will be held September 6, 7, and 8 at Grant Park, Gabriel Park, and at the Portland Tennis Center. All entry fees will be donated to the Memorial Fund, and dedicated to total reconstruction of the tennis courts where Alex learned to play at the age of 2.

There will be no trophies, awards, or rankings; the event is simply a celebration of Alex's life in tennis, and a coming together of friends and former teammates.

Rovello’s tennis record was remarkable. He was the first men's player in Oregon history to achieve four singles high school titles. He had a 50-0 record playing for Cleveland High School, and was an outstanding player while enrolled at the University of Oregon. Alex's reputation for friendliness, respect and sportsmanship were regularly used to describe his athletic career.

On Sunday, September 15, there will be a Memorial Fund kickoff at Berkeley Park, from 1 till 4 pm, where floral and poster memorials to the young athlete still decorate the tennis court fences. There will be music, giveaways, and various activities, as well as encouragement for young tennis players.

Jim and Geri Rovello, Alex’s parents, hope to raise enough money to resurface the two existing courts; to replace benches, net posts, and nets; to upgrade lighting; and to trim trees at the site.

Geri Rovello says, “The Eastmoreland Racquet Club closed for tennis about a year ago, and converted to a volleyball/basketball facility, so a lot of the capacity for tennis in Southeast Portland has been adversely impacted. The Berkeley Park court is within walking distance of nearly a thousand tennis players. We hope to bring families back to the court to play together as a lifelong sport.”

Jim Rovello adds, “We’re in partnership with the Portland Parks and Recreation Department in this project. The United States Tennis Association is also giving us support and guidance; and family friend Mike Rosen is helping us navigate city bureaucracies.” The Commerce-Cleveland High School Alumni Association has agreed to accept tax-deductible contributions on behalf of the Memorial Fund. You can also donate to the Alex Rovello Memorial Fund through any branch of Wells Fargo Bank, but contributing that way is not tax-deductible, although it is equally appreciated.