In 2006, twin brothers Angelo and Ettore Rossetti were inspired to use their tennis abilities to commemorate a tennis mentor and friend who had recently died from brain cancer and ALS.
They came up with the idea of setting a world record for the longest tennis rally.
The goal was to use the publicity and donations from the event to raise awareness for ALS and brain cancer, as well as for the sport of tennis.
The Rossetti brothers have since become the world-record holders for the longest rally, set in 2008 at 25,944 strokes. The rally took 14 hours and 31 minutes to complete.
In the process, the Rossettis created the organization Rally 4 Charity, a personal and community fundraiser that builds awareness and raises revenue for a variety worthwhile causes.
"It is important to be good at something like tennis, but it is even more important just to be a good person," said Angelo A. Rossetti, who averaged 1,800 strokes per hour during his record-setting rally. The Guinness Book of World Records officially recognizes the longest tennis rally by the number of strokes, despite the duration of time.
For 2009, the Rossettis have secured one million dollars in prize money for any team that can break their world record.
On Saturday, August 15th, in Milford, Connecticut, Isidro Martinez and Paul Coorssen took to the courts at the Milford Indoor Tennis club in an attempt to break the record.
Martinez and Coorssen won the right to challenge the record by winning a previous qualifying round when they hit 5,916 consecutive strokes in one hour without a miss.
The all-day event also incorporated free tennis clinics, mentoring and coaching, teaching modern tennis skills, fitness and strategy, while emphasizing etiquette and sportsmanship. The goal is to not only create better tennis athletes on the court, but better people off the court.
The third-annual Rally 4 Charity event is raising money to support four charitable groups: The ALS Association, Save the Children, Rally for the Cure and the Tim & Tom Gullikson Family Support Fund at the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.
Martinez and Coorssen rallied for an hour and a half during their official attempt, tallying a staggering 6,858 hits. Their efforts set an unofficial world record for largest number of hits in such a short time period.
"Obviously it would be great if we broke the world record, but win or lose it's about the charities," stated Coorssen.
The 2010 decade edition of the Guinness Book of World Records features a photo and short story documenting the Rossetti's original record-setting rally. The brothers are currently planning book signings and live rally demonstrations with inspirational goal-setting presentations at bookstores and schools across the country.
Now in its third year, Rally 4 Charity is an annual tennis event to raise money for charity. For more information, please visit Rally4Charity.org, where you can also donate by clicking on the charity logo of your choice.