Oracle Corp. today announced the creation of the Oracle U.S. Tennis Awards, player grants that will be awarded annually at the BNP Paribas Open to assist young American players as they transition from college into the professional ranks.
The two $100,000 grants will be awarded each year at the BNP Paribas Open to a male and female professional who have demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship and an aptitude for success on the pro tour. They must have played collegiate tennis prior to turning professional.
"Making the transition from college to the professional ranks is a real challenge,'' said Oracle CEO Mark Hurd. "We hope these awards will provide young players with support to develop their games and improve their mental and physical fitness. Our goal is to grow the program and we invite input and support from other companies who are committed to U.S. athletics.''
The awards will be administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the governing body of college tennis.
"The ITA is proud of our partnership with Oracle," said ITA CEO Timothy Russell. "Together we are growing the brand of college tennis and enhancing student-athlete experiences, and in doing so helping to return the leaders of tomorrow in America and around the world."
Recipients will be selected by the newly created Oracle U.S. Tennis Awards Advisory Council, a six-member body that includes individuals committed to the growth and improvement of American tennis. The inaugural members of the Advisory Council are:
Chris Evert: Former singles world No. 1; current ESPN tennis commentator; co-founder of Evert Tennis Academy.
Ilana Kloss: Former singles world No. 19; commissioner of Mylan World Team Tennis.
Peggy Michel: three-time grand slam doubles champion; played college tennis at Arizona State; current Associate Tournament Director at the BNP Paribas Open.
Dr. Timothy Russell: CEO ITA; college educator for three decades.
Martin Blackman: General Manager, USTA Player Development; played college tennis at Stanford.
Todd Martin: former singles world #4; CEO International Tennis Hall of Fame; played college tennis at Northwestern University.
"I know how difficult the early months and years of a professional career can be,'' said Todd Martin. "These awards will certainly help. It's great to see a company like Oracle step up to support American tennis.''
Added Chris Evert: "The people at Oracle understand that becoming a top player requires a strong support system. We are confident that these awards will help some young players through those daunting early years on the tour.''
About Oracle: Oracle offers a comprehensive and fully integrated stack of cloud applications, platform services, and engineered systems. With more than 420,000 customers-including 100 of the Fortune 100-in more than 145 countries, Oracle provides a complete technology stack both in the cloud and in the data center. Oracle's industry-leading cloud-based and on-premises solutions give customers complete deployment flexibility and unmatched benefits including application integration, advanced security, high availability, scalability, energy efficiency, powerful performance, and low total cost of ownership. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), visit www.oracle.com.
About The ITA: The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is committed to serving college tennis and returning the leaders of tomorrow. As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA oversees men's and women's varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College divisions. The ITA administers a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men's and women's varsity players, coaches and teams in all divisions, providing recognition for their accomplishments on and off the court. For more information on the ITA, visit the ITA website at www.itatennis.com, like the ITA on Facebook or follow @ITA_Tennis on Twitter and Instagram.
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