Stepping Up and Giving Back
Calling this year’s Ellesse Pro Tennis Challenge event a success is an understatement.
For the third consecutive year, the tournament took place at the Emkey Tennis Garden, presented by Berks County Tennis Association (BCTA). Six ATP tour players from across the world played the round-robin style tournament: Ryan Harrison and Michael Zheng of the United States, Sumit Nagal of India, Hugo Gaston of France, Jonas Forejtek of the Czech Republic, and Inaki Montes de la Torre of Spain.
While incredible tennis is reason enough to come out and support this successful tournament, community outreach is the reason to keep coming back.
The tournament raised enough money to support 10 year-round scholarships for kids to play tennis at the City of Reading (COR) Tennis Program.
And, after a considerable donation from Ryan Harrison, those 10 scholarships became 20.
“For him to step up and do this for the COR tennis program, the Ellesse event and the Berks County Tennis Association — it means so much,” said Ryan Knarr, President of BCTA and event Tournament Director.
Not only did Harrison make this philanthropic donation, he also donated his time. Harrison conducted a junior clinic at Hampden Park, home of COR Tennis, for around 35 players from the Reading area before the tournament even started. The players represented Conrad Weiser High School, Berks Catholic, and Reading Senior High School.
As part of the clinic, former COR players came out to speak about the impact participating in the program had on their lives. This clearly struck a chord with Harrison.
On the final day of the tournament, he felt so moved by his experience at Hampden Park that he wanted to match the number of scholarships.
Knarr is one of many who is incredibly thankful.
“The impact he made on the junior clinic, the opportunity to play for something bigger than himself, and to give back to the cause and the mission is something that changes lives,” Knarr said.
- Harrison with the junior clinic at Hampden Park, home of COR Tennis
- Nick Bybel (left) with Ryan Harrison (right)