By Christina Claus
The first annual Vincent Cannariato Open, a charity tennis tournament organized by Port resident and Cannariato’s longtime friend Dave Kerpen, raised more than $9,000 for a men’s heart health awareness initiative Kerpen began with St. Francis Hospital. More than 40 locals came out to the Village Club of Sands Point on May 21 to play in a tournament in memory of Cannariato, who passed away suddenly last year at the age of 50 from a heart-related illness.
“It was a blast,” said Kerpen. “As a first event, I thought it went really well and I’m confident we’ll grow it every year. It was amazing to know that Vinnie had so much support and that I had so much support in putting this event together for him.”
Kerpen and Cannariato had been friends for 10 years and had played tennis together as part of the Midnight Entrepreneurs Tennis League for five of those years, playing tennis every Tuesday night from 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. Kerpen explained that during those Tuesday night games, Cannariato started a tradition where if the players had a deuce, they would scream “Deuce,” so Kerpen decided it was only appropriate that be done throughout the tournament.
“When I announced it, the pros were taken aback and then I said it had to be this way because of Vinnie and they really embraced it,” Kerpen said. “You knew Vinnie’s spirit was there.”
While Kerpen, himself made it to the semifinals, first place winners included Anita Rosner for the women’s singles tournament, Addy Malhotra in the men’s singles tournament and Mike Speer and Anita Rosner in the doubles tournament.
Funds raised from the tournament will be donated to a men’s heart health awareness program at St. Francis Hospital to be used specifically to educate men about heart health and the importance of getting checkups. To donate, visit www.vinniesday.com.