Indian Wells, CA
The second annual Oracle US Tennis Awards were handed out by Oracle Corp. CEO Mark Hurd and tennis Hall-of-Famer Tracy Austin at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open.
An American male and female tennis professional who have demonstrated exemplary sportsmanship and an aptitude for success on the pro tour are selected by a panel of former tennis professionals and executives. The governing body of college tennis, Intercollegiate Tennis Association, administer grants.
Francesca Di Lorenzo and Chris Eubanks were this years’ winners, each received a $100,000 grant. The grant is to assist young American players as they transition from college to the professional ranks.
Di Lorenzo is one year into her professional career at the age of twenty after competing two years at Ohio State University. The Buckeye finished the 2017 collegiate season as the No. 1 singles and No. 3 doubles player in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Rankings
Eubanks also turned pro last year after playing three seasons at Georgia Tech University. The Yellow Jacket finished the 2017 college season as the No. 8 singles and No. 30 doubles players.
Di Lorenzo and Eubanks stopped by the KMIR sports desk inside the FILA tent at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden during the BNP Paribas Open with checks in hand.
"When I got the call to finalize I was going to be the award recipient, I was at a loss for words,” Eubanks explained. “I was so grateful and so thankful for Oracle for doing this and the ITA for combining and putting together a committee to find the best recipients possible."
One of the inaugural recipients was Danielle Collins. Collins made it all the way to the fourth round of the 2018 BNP Paribas Open. Collins has had nothing but praise to give to Oracle and all they have done to help her.
“It’s very motivating to see how well she (Collins) has done.” Di Lorenzo said. “Not just in this tournament but the past challengers. She’s really used her wildcards and really used her Oracle grant she was given and made the most out of it. I hope to do the same."
The success of the 2017 recipients brings motivation to succeed with the grant.
"Just to know you have the support of Oracle, the ITA, and so many people behind you, it can only help you,” Eubanks said. “It can only serve as a driving force to go out there day-in and day-out to be the best tennis player you can be and hopefully go on to do some great things knowing you are representing all the people who have supported you, such as Oracle. For this award, to be a part of it, I think it’s an incredible thing and an incredible honor."