The Rio Open presented by Claro performs a plethora of charity work, supporting five social projects that benefit hundreds of children and their families.
But this year, some of those children got a special treat. Six boys — a champion from each of the Futuro Bom Institute, Tenis na Lagoa, Tenis Solidario, Fabiano de Paula Tennis School and Arremessar Para O Futuro as well as one additional player — were provided the opportunity to travel to Florida and train for a week at the IMG Academy.
“I felt it as much as the kids,” said Marcus Fonseca, the founder of the Futuro Bom Institute. “I never had that opportunity at IMG and the Rio Open gave us the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The players who participated in the trip ranged from ages 11 to 18 — Valter Albuquerque (11), Caua Ostenta (11), Joao Gabriel Oliveira (18), Marcus Rocha (16), Ryan Souza (16) and José André (18) — and they were accompanied by the leaders of their respective projects and Rio Open Tournament Director Luiz Carvalho.
The group got to undergo a week of first-class training, including an exclusive practice with Nick Bolletieri himself. They also learned more about physical conditioning, strategy and mental conditioning. Off the court, the children got to play baseball, meet other tennis players at the academy and visit Walt Disney World to cap off the experience of a lifetime.
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“The trip was really great!” the 11-year-old Albuquerque said.
“When the trip was over, everybody was really sad to separate,” Carvalho said. “But the truth is they are family forever, the Rio Open family, the winners family, and certainly we’re going to see each other many times here in Rio.”
The Rio Open’s effort was one of nine charitable causes nominated by ATP World Tour players, tournaments and alumni that received a $15,000 grant from ATP ACES For Charity in 2017.