LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A night of exhibition tennis featuring the No. 1 player in the world, Novak Djokavic, provided more than athletic entertainment — It fulfilled the wishes of children who struggle with autism.
The matches took place in UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion, where the five-time Grand Slam title-winner Djokavic teamed up with retired fourteen-time champion Pete Sampras. The two took on Camarillo, CA natives and doubles Olympic gold medal winners, Bob and Mike Bryan, for the feature event. Other single matches, including names like Tommy Haas, James Blake, and Olympic silver-medalist Mardy Fish also took place.
An organization called ACEing Autism, which uses tennis as a means to enhance health and fitness in children with autism, was able to take part in the event, in which the participating players were raising money for their respective charities. Four children were chosen to walk onto the court with some of their tennis idols.
Kyle Pokorski and Simone Dahl, both nine years old, were able to walk onto the court with Tommy Haas and James Blake. Later in the evening, eight-year-old Ulises Gonzalez and 16-year-old Danny Holtz walked onto the court with Mardy Fish and Novak Djokavic.
The kids were then able to watch the matches along with volunteers of the ACEing Autism organization.
ACEing Autism is a program that helps kids with autism by providing a fun way to develop motor skills and hand-and-eye coordination. The organization currently offers programs in Sherman Oaks, Woodland Hills, Culver City, Burbank, and Pasadena.
If you have interest in learning more about ACEing Autism, you can click this link to view their website.