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National

Smiles, llamas, paint rule at

Davis Cup Family Fair

Ashley Marshall  |  July 12, 2016
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Hundreds of children got the opportunity of a lifetime: to play with their idols at a Family Fun Fair held in Portland, Ore., as part of the Davis Cup festivities surrounding Team USA’s quarterfinal tie with Croatia this weekend.

 

More than 1,200 people registered for the community event at the Tualatin Hill Tennis Center for a chance to hit with John Isner, Jack Sock and Bob and Mike Bryan.

 

Youngsters of all ages and abilities rallied with the pros and took part in a series of demonstrations to improve their skills. Lucky fans also had the chance to win prizes from sneakers and balls to baseball caps and wristbands provided by Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, Portland Tennis & Education, Wilson, USPTA, RecTennis and the Northwest Wheelchair Tennis Association. 

 

Portland fan-favorites Rojo the llama and Napoleon the alpaca entertained families and a photo booth, face painting station and henna tattoos stand ensured there was something for everyone.

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Following the fair, all four Davis Cup players created a mural by hitting tennis balls dipped in paint at a white canvas. Covered in paint, the pros then signed the artwork, which will be donated to the Portland Tennis & Education NJTL to auction off as part of their fundraising efforts.

 

“It was a blast,” said Sock. “For them to come out and support us, it’s only fair for us to give back. They’re going to be cheering us on as the home crowd, so to help them out when we can is a lot of fun.

 

“I like giving back when I can and helping the kids out. It was a great turnout and it was fun for not only me but the whole team for sure. We’re all pretty covered in red, white and blue paint, but all the things you do during the week make you that much more proud to represent your team and your country.”

 

The event was held in conjunction with the USTA Pacific Northwest section and supported by 250 volunteers, including 50 youngsters from neighboring Aloha High School.

 

“The big eyes of wonderment of seeing the Davis Cup team out there was priceless,” said Matthew Warren, the executive director of the USTA Pacific Northwest section.

 

“It’s just wonderful to see the community embrace and support an event like this. It’s such a privilege to have Davis Cup here, and I think you saw from today that there were lots of excited fans here. It’s a strong and thriving tennis community – there are over 900,000 tennis players in the Pacific Northwest – and all of our programs from leagues and junior comp to rec tennis are growing and that’s exciting to see. Today, to see all the kids and families out there with smiles on their faces is testament to how our sport is growing in our area, so we are really excited.”

 

Among those hitting with the pros was 12-year-old Kiyosh Nambi from Portland, who was all smiles after rallying with Bob Bryan.

 

“That was so much fun,” said Kiyosh, who started playing tennis four years ago with his brother, Shrish. “It’s a great honor to play with these great players. I’m going to keep on playing tennis and I would love to be a professional tennis player.”

 

Team USA takes on Croatia at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center, July 15-17. The winner advances to the Davis Cup semifinal in September against the winner of the France-Czech Republic tie.

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