Hundreds remember UO tennis star at memorial service

PORTLAND, Ore. - Family and friends remembered a 21-year-old University of Oregon tennis star at a memorial service in Portland on Saturday.

Alex Rovello drowned one week ago after jumping off a 60-foot cliff into Tamolitch Pool, a popular place for cliff diving northeast of Eugene, Ore. His friends had to run two miles to get cellphone service so they could call 911, but by then it was too late.

So many people attended the service that the church brought in a production company to play the video and sound in two overflow rooms. Hundreds of photos, posters and other mementos lined the walls, and many of his friends wrote down their memories of Alex like they would in a yearbook.

Alex graduated from Portland's Cleveland High School in 2010 and became the first tennis player in state history to win four straight singles titles. He was undefeated in singles play.

His tennis coaches said Alex lived his life to the fullest. They shared some of their fond memories at the service.

"My first thought when I saw you, 'what is this?' A scrawny little kid, a spring chicken with two forehands," one coach said.

Alex's victories piled up from an early age. His father, Jim Rovello, told KATU he was most proud of how humble his son was.

At the University of Oregon, Alex helped the tennis team rise in the college rankings and beat Stanford for the first time ever. He won 10 matches at the No. 1 singles position last year.

His family and friends are collecting money to repair the Berkeley Park Tennis Court, where Alex first learned to play tennis. Donations can be made to the Alex Rovello Donation Fund at any Wells Fargo branch.