For tennis fans throughout Colorado the USTA Tennis Hall of Fame Gala is a must-attend fundraising dinner honoring the best, most talented and generous past and present members of Colorado’s tennis community. The event–benefiting the Colorado Youth Tennis Foundation (CYTF)– honors a Hall of Fame inductee and Colorado youth and adult players and organizations in several categories including sportsmanship, community service and competitive skills. In fact, Colorado USTA league players have sent many teams to the national competition and the Denver-based organization remains the nation’s 2nd largest division.
USTA Board President Angela Finan began the evening with a welcome and thanks to guests, sponsors and honorees before introducing the guest of honor and 2020 Hall of Fame inductee: Gigi Fernandez, one of the top doubles tennis players in U.S. history with a career spanning more than 25 years.
Fernandez thanked guests and acknowledged the hard work of Executive Director Fritz Garger, Associate Director Lisa Schaefer, and USTA staff & volunteers for successfully organizing the annual gala year after year. Later, Fernandez, CYTF Board President Cindy McLemore, and youth player Lyric Newsome assisted with the live auction led by Shelly St. John of the Auction Divas. After the award presentation, guests enjoyed live music by The Saddle Rockers. This HOF Gala sponsors this year were: Subaru, MidFirst Bank, LINE 3 and Sprouts Farmers Market.
Fernandez, who lived in Colorado in the 1990s, summarized her tennis career and urged guests to share their talents on behalf of others. Fernandez turned pro in 1983 to become Puerto Rico’s first female professional athlete, in any sport. She went on to win 17 U.S. Open championship titles and moved to Aspen in 1989. Later, she represented the U.S at the Olympics and won 2 Olympic Gold Medals in doubles with Mary Joe Fernandez (no relation) and 16 additional Grand Slam doubles titles. In 2000, she was honored as the Puerto Rican Athlete of the Century and in 2019 was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Her former Colorado coach, Randy Crawford, was inducted in 2019.
The gala, held Saturday, February 8 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center, benefits the Colorado Youth Tennis Foundation (CYTF), which was founded in 1961 by the USTA to develop the next generation of U.S. tennis players. The event recognizes Colorado’s high school state champions and USTA league teams that advanced to national championships. The Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame display is permanently housed on the first floor of Denver’s Gates Tennis Center in Cherry Creek and is open to the public during normal hours of operation.
The Colorado Youth Tennis Foundation offers financial assistance to organizations that reach youth across Colorado through tennis programming. Grants range between $100 and $1,000. To download an application for the CYTF scholarships due March 1, 2019 visit: http://www.colorado.usta.com/cta/resources/financial_assistance/program_grants/
Colorado 2020 Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Gigi Fernandez urged guests to contribute and share their skills with others.To view past HOF honorees visit the CYTF web site here: https://cytf.net/events/
For more info on Colorado USTA visit: www.colorado.usta.com