Petrolia teen to be featured during Rogers’ Cup coverage

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A Petrolia teen who spearheaded the drive to fix the Mary Beach Tennis Courts will be getting some national attention Sunday morning.

Matt Mueller, along with Mayor John McCharles and the Director of Community Services Dave Menzies will be featured by CBC Sports between 8:30am and 9:30am during Rogers’ Cup Tennis Coverage.

Petrolia’s only tennis courts have been refurbished and are ready for use again thanks to the 13-year-old tennis enthusiast fundraising drive.

Mueller, with the help of his mother, Krista, asked town council to refurbish the asphalt covered courts this spring. They offered to raise money for the work. By Monday, Mueller had delivered $22,500 worth of donations to cover the entire cost of the project.

And one of the donations came from a very high profile source. When the repairs and the fundraising campaign were underway, Tennis Canada heard about Muller’s drive.

Officials recently wrote Mueller to thank him for being an “ambassador for tennis” in his community. The organization also featured him in the latest issue of their magazine and sent him a T-shirt and hat from the organization.

It was the magazine article which caught the attention of Milos Raonic – Canada’s number one-ranked tennis player who is ranked eighth in the world.

He contacted the town and offered to top up the fundraising drive with his own money.

A week later – playing at the newly opened court with Sarah Barry, Mueller is still awed by the donation. “I still haven’t really processed it yet,” he says with a grin.

“When my mom told me, I didn’t really believe her.”

Mueller’s determination to improve the local courts was widely praised by town council Monday.

“It’s not very often you get a young person come in and take on a project,” Mayor John McCharles told Mueller while presenting him with a certificate of appreciation.

“You did it and you did a great job. That’s something we all have to be proud of. You’ve done something for the town, that hasn’t cost the taxpayers any money and taxpayers like that.”

“It’s good to see young people step out because most adults don’t,” says Councillor Ross O’Hara. “When you get older, you will step out and be a leader in this community.

“You were not only raising some money, but you got us some interesting recognition,” says Councillor Liz Welsh. “You put us on the tennis map.”

And even though the project is complete and paid for, more donations are coming in. The Sarnia Tennis Club donated a wind screen for the courts to keep the breeze down. Clean Harbors is still going to make a “sizable donation” according to Mueller’s mom. And Mary Beach’s neice, June Maginn who was at council Monday, also left a cheque for improvements to be made to the park bearing her aunt’s name.

All that was far behind on Tuesday as Mueller and Sarah Barry lobbed the ball over the freshly painted court agreeing it was “a thousand times better” than it was before.

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