Ivelisse M. Fernández Cruz
Children: Gabriel, 16; Ana, 10
Tell us your own story of what makes tennis a special part of your life.
Tennis is not just a sport – it's a way of life for our family. We are grateful for all the precious moments and memories it has brought to us. Today, both of our kids compete actively in USTA Caribbean tennis programs. Their tennis years have given us countless hours of quality time as a family, both on the courts and during our many trips to tournaments and tennis academies. They are all beautiful moments that we cherish.
Our son, Gabriel, has been a volunteer in various tennis-community programs and loves helping out in the mini-tennis tournaments as he watches his younger sister work her way up in the sport. His support of her and her admiration of him has also played a vital role in our family. Now we are approaching a different stage, as Gabriel is traveling to tennis showcases in the United States and working hard to play at the NCAA level.
Why do you think it is important for your children to play tennis?
My kids both selected tennis among other sports. We never forced them to choose tennis, but we are just glad they did. Tennis, as most sports, will provide them discipline and will teach them to set goals for themselves and work hard to reach them.
What are some of your notable tennis accomplishments? Your family’s?
My husband and I have played Leagues for over 10 years. We started off as beginners, and we have been able to keep up with our teammates and friends as 4.0 players now. We have played the 18- and 40-&-Over Leagues, Mixed and Tri-Level. Those years in recreational tennis have given us lifetime friends. We have made it to Sectionals a few times, and in my case, I was able to go to Nationals back in 2015 and have the full experience of playing against other great teams at Indian Wells.
With our kids, they are both products of the “mini-tennis” program, which includes tournaments, clinics, training sessions and events following the youth progression pathway. They have also participated in multiple Junior Team Tennis events. They love those the most. Our eldest has made it to the Junior Team Tennis championships in the United States. I have been their captain a few times, enjoying a dual role with them as a parent and as kind of a coach. Hopefully, my 10-year-old will allow me to continue enjoying that for a while.
We have also experienced first-hand the excitement and satisfaction of having your kid represent the section at the Intersectional Championships and watch as he grows his game. Gabriel is currently ranked in the Top 5 in his category.
What has tennis taught you about your children?
Ana Cecilia was 9 and had just begun green dot tennis tournaments. She obviously lost most matches in the round robin. On our way home, she asked me to stop at Kmart and made me buy her a magnet board, where she placed a three-month calendar and drew her training schedule for the next three months right up to the next tournament. Yep, she has quite some drive! Gabriel, on the other hand, has demonstrated so much focus and commitment to his development that we are extremely proud.
I must admit that my husband and I were raised in sports, and it becomes embedded in your DNA and your philosophy of raising kids. Thank goodness we can both share this and be accomplices of one another.