Jared Donaldson, Rhode Island’s up and comer on pro tennis tour, participates in check presentation, receives tournament wild card

The ATP World Tour has awarded a $15,000 grant to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center in Newport, R.I. to support their hunger relief programs. The grant money is one of nine grants awarded by the ATP ACES For Charity program, a global initiative aimed at giving back to communities where ATP World Tour events are played, as well as recognizing and supporting tournament, player, and alumni charitable initiatives. Since 1976, Newport has hosted the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, which is only men’s pro tennis event in the Northeast and is one of just ten ATP events in the nation.

The grant check was presented today by Todd Martin, former world No. 4 and the current tournament director of the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, and Jared Donaldson, a Rhode Island native and a rising star among men’s pro tennis players. Donaldson, who is 18 years old, is currently ranked world No. 160 on the ATP World Tour and he has been awarded a wild card into the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, to be played in July.

“It’s a privilege to be able to support the work of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center through our tournament,” commented Martin. “The center provides vital services including feeding our neighbors in need, early childhood education, providing positive after school programs, and much more. Only ten cities in our country are fortunate to have an ATP World Tour event in their community, and it is because Newport is one of those cities that we are able to make this contribution. I applaud the ATP for creating a way for the tournaments to give back to their community with such significance. We are grateful and appreciative to the ATP that we are able to make this donation.”

Nine charitable causes, nominated by ATP World Tour tournaments, players and alumni, will receive the $/€15,000 grants through the ATP ACES For Charity program in 2015. Since 2011, the grant program has awarded 51 grants totaling more than $620,000 in donations.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center provides urgent food services, educational programs for children, programs promoting self-sufficiency for adults, and general social service support for Newport County. The ATP ACES For Charity grant will be applied to MLK Community Center’s hunger relief programs, which serves 2,900 individuals are served annually.

In addition to the MLK Community Center, this year’s recipients include the YMCA of Metropolitan Atlanta; the Special Olympics and Fight Aids organizations in Monte-Carlo; the Swedish Cancer Society; Officine Terenzio; the Tomas Berdych Foundation, which aspires to develop human potential through sports activities and projects; Magic Bus in Chennai, India; and HomeAid OC in Orange County, California.

“The International Tennis Hall of Fame has been a valued partner to the center for many years, through auction donations, events for the kids, and more. Newport is fortunate to have this global institution in our town, and we are quite appreciative to the ATP World Tour and the Hall of Fame for this funding. This grant will make a critical impact in supporting our work in fighting hunger in Newport County,” commented David Howe, president of the Board of Trustees for the MLK Community Center “We’re looking forward to this year’s tournament and will be there to cheer on Jared.”

Home in Rhode Island for a brief visit before heading to Europe for the clay court season, Donaldson was happy to join Martin in presenting the check and to accept a wild card into the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.

“It will be really nice to compete in front of a hometown crowd this July. I’m grateful to Todd Martin and the tournament for the wild card and really looking forward to the event,” said Donaldson. “It was great to be able to participate in the check presentation to the community center today. For the players, we are in and out of so many different cities in about a week throughout the year, so it’s really nice to know that while our stop in a particular place may be quick, the benefits to the community are long term.”

Donaldson, 18, of Chepachet, R.I., is a rising star in men’s pro tennis. He is currently ranked world No. 160, making him the youngest American and one of just eight teenagers in the world top-200.

After turning pro midway through last year, Donaldson began this season at world No. 261. He won the title at the Maui Challenger event in January, and he has consistently improved his ranking ever since. Earlier this month he defeated former world No. 8 Radek Stepanek, who was ranked world No. 110 at the time and he’s also notched wins over several other top-150 players. Donaldson was a semifinalist last week at the Tallahassee Challenger.

In 2012, Donaldson won the Rhode Island Interscholastic League State Championship as a freshman, for Ponagansett High School. He trained in the state as a young player. However, given the climate, his training was limited to indoor facilities, which generally limits one’s movement on court and footwork skills. At age 14, Donaldson began training in Argentina to have access to outdoor clay courts, which he credits with significant improvement to his game.

Today he is coached by Taylor Dent, who won the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships title in 2002. Donaldson competed in the qualifying rounds of the Newport tournament last year.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, including access to the newly renovated museum and the International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are available now. Hall of Fame Members save $8 on tickets, and enjoy many other benefits throughout tournament week, including access to a Member Lounge, first-in-line status for autographs, and much more. Tickets and membership info is available on HallofFameTennisChampionships.com or by phone at (401) 849-6053

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