We met up with local USTA Florida League Players, Patricia Anillo & Marta Camancho, who talked to us about their Hispanic Heritage and their love of playing tennis.
Question: Where are you from?
Patricia: I am Cuban. I got here to the US almost three years ago. I used to play racquetball, but our Captain saw me and said “you can also play tennis” and here I am.
Marta: I am from Puerto Rico, from the same place as Monica Puig, our famous tennis player and gold medalist from the Olympic games las year. I have been here in the US for 20 years and I am happily married with two kids.
Question: How has tennis played a role in meeting people of Hispanic heritage and helping you build relationships that way?
Marta: Tennis, like other sports is international. The beauty of the sport is that is that it does not matter what your physical or mental ability is, you can play tennis with your friends, your husband, your kids. From a very young age you can grab a racquet and play until you are 60, 70 80 and even 100 years old. That’s the best of tennis. It brings countries, people and families together. The most important thing is to enjoy it, spend good times and have good etiquette as far as playing correctly, calling the balls correctly and maintaining a good environment
Question: Do you play tennis with your families?
Patricia: Yes, we play together. Since I was little I played with my parents and my brother. It was always tennis, and if it was not tennis, it was racquetball or something with a racquet. We used to have a ping pong table and like I said, everything was with a racquet playing as a family. We also played mixed doubles where I played with my dad and my mom played with my bother…great times!
Marta: We also played at schools. We played table tennis and recreational tennis. If there were not nets or courts available, we played outside and used the lines on the pavement as guides and would hit back and forth . The idea was to play tennis and have a good time.
Question: So you’ve been here for 20 years,, did you play tennis in college? (Marta)
Marta: No, my sport used to be volleyball and then when I first came I started to play softball and 5 years ago I started to play tennis
Question: Tells us about what your Hispanic Heritage means to you
Marta: Well for us in Puerto Rico, a small island, we have received a lot of influence from Latin America, Spain and also the US. We are very proud of having Olympic teams who represent us and of having so many people who get together to compete internationally. Our Hispanic Heritage is something that distinguish us and runs through our blood. It is important to keep the culture through dance, singing and I am very happy to always represent my island and our Hispanic Heritage
Patricia: In Cuba, even though we are an Island as well, we have very limited access to sports, but tennis is a Community. Kids start from a very young age 8-9, 10-11 and change in age group as times goes. They play at schools and even give more importance to sports than academics. Little by little they play and may become professionals and attend tournaments around the world thanks to tennis.
Question: What message do you have for other Hispanics about tennis?
Marta: Well the main thing is to want to exercise, it does not matter your abilities as I mentioned earlier. It is a good idea to come out, ask around, ask if there is a coach available. Coaches are always very helpful and all you need to do is find out about the basics, return the serve, call the balls correctly. All Latinos come out and play. This sport is beautiful, you make lifetime friendships. It is a joy to play and right now we are competing here in Lake Nona representing Shula’s Club from Miami-Dade. Come, we are Latinas from Weston and Miami Springs and we are all very welcome.