| By New York Tennis Magazine Staff
Credit photos to Sidney Beal III/Clique Photography


USTA Eastern hosted a Rally for Relief event at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Saturday to raise money for natural disaster relief.

All proceeds from the event were donated to the Hispanic Federation UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fund to support Puerto Rico and Mexico following the devastating natural disasters to strike the nations recently.

“The event came together because we knew we had to act quickly,” said Jocelyn Cruz, Senior Manager, Schools & Community Tennis for USTA Eastern. “Many of us felt helpless for all those people suffering during the natural disasters. We knew one of the key things we are capable of doing is organizing a tennis tournament or event. So we combined the urgency to help people in need and what we do well—running tennis programs. We felt that tennis brings people together—which encompasses what Eastern is all about.”

Cruz, along with USTA Eastern’s Tennis Service Representative for the Metro Region, Gustavo Loza, put the event together in a very short timeframe. Loza, a native of Mexico, was personally affected by the earthquake that rocked Mexico City, and knew he wanted to help.

“It was inspiring to see the New York City tennis community come together to support a great cause,” said Loza. “That is what sports are all about, uniting people no matter the age, club, background, or NTRP rating. We wanted to put together a great event and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without all these people with big hearts that contributed in one way or another.”

The National Tennis Center opened up the courts to be used for the round robin doubles tournament portion of the event, Cruz and Loza worked to bring together as many people from as many backgrounds in the tennis community. The original goal was set at $5,000, but the event’s success increased thanks to the kindness of people who attended and donated as more than $10,000 was raised to provide relief.

“We tried to make it a family fun day with activities off court like ping pong, corn hole, red ball court, arts and crafts and live music, in addition to the raffles and silent auction amidst the round robin.”