Portland tennis courts honor UO athlete: 'Alex grew up on these courts'

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Berkeley Park tennis courts in Southeast Portland are being renovated to serve as a memorial for a University of Oregon tennis star that drowned last year near Eugene.

It was here that Alex Rovello started hitting tennis balls with his dad.

"Alex grew up on these courts. Hitting tennis balls when these courts were cracked and the nets were down," said Derin Hibbs, Rovello's childhood coach.

The young athlete won four state singles titles while at Cleveland High before joining the University of Oregon tennis team.

He drowned at Tamolitch Falls near Eugene in May of 2013.

Since his death, Rovello's parents raised thousands of dollars to retrofit the Berkeley Park courts.

"This really helped us heal. We've been embraced by so many people that have joined this effort and hopefully other children will come to this tennis court," said Alex's mom, Geri Rovello.

She said the family is partnering with nearby elementary schools to encourage more young kids to play the sport their son loved so much.

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