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Financial Sponsors Adopt Players

March 22, 2007 09:48 AM

MIAMI, FL, April 2, 2007 – The Greater Miami Tennis & Education Foundation in partnership with First Serve matched 10 tournament-level tennis players with financial sponsors during the launch of the Adopt-A-Player program during the Sony Ericsson Open.         

“It’s one of the best things we can be doing as a foundation,” says Donna Stewart, GMTEF executive director.

During the kick-off event, the sponsors met and talked with the junior tennis players from Miami-Dade County, who were selected for their academic achievement and ability to play at high-level tournaments but lack the resources to do so.

Sponsors will contribute up to $5,000 for expenses such as coaching fees, tournament costs, travel expenses, racquets, shoes and other equipment. In return, the players, who range in age from 10 to 17, will communicate with their sponsors about their personal goals for the year, tournament schedules and results, academic progress, changes in USTA ranking, awards, and individual growth and development.

The players are Justin Butsch, 12, Monica Chow, 16, Kip Jackson, 15, Tiffany Jones, 14, Luke Mojica, 17, Gabriella Palacios, 15, Brandon Pringle, 16, Rafael Rodriguez, 11, Jordan Smith, 16, and Jamie Yapp-Shing, 15.

The GMTEF/First Serve Adopt-A-Player program was initiated with the vision to produce high-level tennis players from inner-city parks. The ultimate goal will be to spotlight Miami as a stage for emergent top-flight juniors who are not just superior tennis players but superior individuals. The program will ensure that local players will have the opportunity to improve their tennis and potentially get a college education.

Making a special appearance were James Blake, Bob and Mike Bryan, Thomas Berdych, Cliff Drysdale, Mary Joe Fernandez and former Governor Jeb Bush. Hosts for the evening were Butch Buchholz, founder of the Sony Ericsson Open, Aaron Podhurst, Miami attorney, Woody Weiser, chairman and chief executive officer of Carnival Hotels and Resorts, and Ed Rubinoff, GMTEF chairman of the board.






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