Late Darien man’s love of tennis alive in Grassroots tourney

Jon DeLuca always had a love for tennis, and in the years since his death, that passion survives and thrives in an annual youth tournament.

The Jon DeLuca Youth Tennis Memorial Fund, created by DeLuca’s father, Al, will be sponsoring the Grassroots’ kids’ fundraising tournament “Knights for Aces” on Aug. 22 from 1 to 6 p.m.

Grassroots Tennis & Education, a nonprofit youth development organization whose mission is to build strength of character and a foundation for success through tennis and education, has held this tournament annually since 2014. This is the first year that the fund has sponsored this tournament locally.

The round robin doubles matches will be open to feature boys and girls in U10, U12, U14 and U17 and will be played at Middlesex, Tokeneke, Wee Burn and Woodway country clubs in Darien. The finals will be at the William Rippe Tennis Center at Springwood Park at Grassroots in Norwalk.

“We are honored to sponsor this wonderful event during Jon’s birth month, around what would have been his 50th birthday,” Al DeLuca said. “Jon was passionate about his kids, his work, youth development and Grassroots.”

The annual tournament gathers area kids of all skill levels, including Grassroots students at the various tennis clubs in Darien. All the proceeds from the event will benefit the youth of Grassroots.

Every year, this event brings together area kids, while raising awareness for the Grassroots program,” Grassroots Tennis Director David Kimani said. “Grassroots helps propel our youth forward so that they can create their own paths by learning through the discipline of the sport of tennis. … Together with the education programming, the sky is the limit for our youngsters. We can’t wait to see all the kids come out for a fun day of tennis and camaraderie.”

After matches are played, the winning doubles team in each division will play in the finals at Grassroots tennis courts. Players and spectators are invited to have pizza and refreshments, and winners will take home trophies and T-shirts.

Grassroots is a free, year-round program combines tennis instruction with leadership development, social-emotional and character development, and college and career readiness support.

A chapter of the USTA National Junior Tennis and Learning Network, Grassroots serves more than 100 children each year, ages 5 to 18.

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