– Torgun Smith, GNTF President
Bill Camacho was one of the most upbeat and positive people ever to call Guam home. Camacho, who used to grind out wins in tennis from the baseline with grunting that would have put Monica Seles to shame, died in March 2011 of a heart attack.
Not only was Camacho one of the island’s best tennis players, but he also was a visionary.
While eight years have passed since his untimely death, through the soon-to-be newly constructed Guam National Tennis Center, his legacy lives on.
The GNTC, a project that has been nine years in the making, breaks ground today in Harmon. The six-court facility, including five regular courts, a grandstand, and a multi-minicourt facility, will be located inside the Guam Sports Complex.
“Bill is the one who lobbied the legislature in 2010 to get us the land,” said Torgun Smith, Guam National Tennis Federation president. “This is Bill’s project. He was very active and enthusiastic about getting this project done. Tina Muña Barnes is the one that put the legislation forward.”
Phase 1 of the $1.4 million complex, made possible by generous donations, weather permitting, is due to open toward the end of July 2019.
“We have a lot of generous donors, and we were able to raise the money,” Smith said.
Smith, describing the GNTC as a “game changer,” said a good portion of the capital raised came from GTA, Quality Distributors Inc., the Ysrael family (Michael Ysrael), the Darren Talai restaurant group (Beachin’ Shrimp, Eat Street Grill, California Pizza Kitchen, and Hot Diggity Dog), and Calvo’s SelectCare. Each company, receiving court-naming rights, donated $100,000.
According to Smith, the GNTC will be run like a tennis club “with membership dues and will be open to the public on a pay-to-play basis.”
With a two-day fundraising effort, former world-ranked professional tennis players Tommy Haas and Dominik Hrbaty helped the GNTF raise over $30,000.
Haas, a former No. 2 world-ranked player, and Hrbaty, a former No. 12, participated in the inaugural Guam National Tennis Federation Golf Tournament fundraiser at Starts Guam Golf Resort in Dededo.
The following day, the two heavyweights played in a tennis exhibition at the Hilton Guam Resort & Spa in Tumon.
Smith said that with the GNTC, Guam will have the ability to host more high-level competitions.
“We can control our own destiny now,” he added.
Source: Weiss, M. (2019, April 22). National Tennis Center construction begins. https://www.postguam.com/sports/local/national-tennis-center-construction-begins/article_6f8177d8-63d4-11e9-80af-2bf8e5021fd9.html