Dr. Wilson and Rose Asfora
Wilson and Rose Asfora don’t play tennis, but they
have become a big part of the tennis scene in Sioux
Falls in the past seven years.
Wilson, a neurosurgeon in Sioux Falls and his wife
Rose were looking to help an athletic program in Sioux
Falls in 2000. Dr. Asfora, a native of Brazil was a
soccer player and so they considered helping the soccer
program in Sioux Falls. Rose, who played tennis at
Westward Ho Country Club, expressed the family’s desire
to provide some sponsorship to Mignonne Schwebach, owner
of Volin’s Racquet and Soccer.
After hearing of the needs of the tennis program,
Rose convinced Wilson to help sponsor the South Dakota
Junior and Adult Open tennis tournaments along with
boosting the state’s Grand Prix tennis program.
The Asfora’s commitment wasn’t a timid gesture. They
signed up in 2000 to fund for the next five years, the
purchase of the logo tennis balls for the junior and
adult South Dakota Open Tournaments along with t-shirts
for the juniors and prize money for the adults.
Although that commitment has ended, the Asfora’s
support has not. They have increased the prize money for
the adult program and continue to fund the awards for
the Grand Prix program.
The logo tennis balls for the tournament along with
the awards, t-shirts, and prize money have enhanced the
two open tournaments among the regional tennis
community. While recently participation in tennis
tournaments in the USTA Northern Section has slipped a
little, it has not in Sioux Falls.
Besides enhancing the tournaments themselves, the
money they have provided has allowed the Sioux Falls
Tennis Association to underwrite less of those same
tournaments. This has given the SFTA the opportunity to
look beyond their previous anemic budgets.
The SFTA has been able to give back to youth tennis
through the underwriting of the summer parks tennis
lesson program. This program also covers underprivileged
children who sign up. They have provided a picnic for
the tournaments which again enhances the venue. The SFTA
has even started a new tennis scholarship program for
graduating seniors this year. In addition, the SFTA has
enhanced the quality of the tournaments by being able to
hire tennis officials and contribute to official chairs.
Mary Thompson, Executive Secretary of the SFTA, says
the Asfora’s generosity plays a significant role in
allowing the SFTA to enhance their programs and seek
Their support of both youth and adult tournaments has
become known regionally as the tournaments are more
often referred to as the Asfora South Dakota Open. Rose
designs the t-shirts each year for the junior
tournaments and they can be seen in tournament play
regionally. Rose’s creative talents are also behind the
unique restaurant they have built in Sioux Falls, the
Carnaval Brazilian Grill.
Schwebach says she is still surprised at the Asfora’s
generosity. She says tennis in Sioux Falls and the state
has gained much from the Asfora’s support. Support which
she says even to this day she appreciates, although she
isn’t sure how it all started.
Rose has discontinued playing due to health reasons,
but their twins, eight-year old Wesley and Ellie are
beginning to take up tennis.