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Fran-Tastic: Austin is Home to One of World's Best Wheelchair Tennis Players

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 09:47 PM CDT

Plenty of players hold court at Grey Rock Tennis Club. However, few hold a candle to Francisca Mardones.

"It's almost impossible to describe how amazing it is," said former United States Davis Cup Captain, Dennis Rolston.

Francisca enjoys tennis because it's an individual sport. Therefore, a match is as much about you as it is about your opponent.

"You compete against your mind and your body," said Mardones.

And if anyone knows the power of mind and body, it's Fran.

"She's got a strong body, strong heart," said Fernando Velasco, owner/general manager of Grey Rock Tennis Center.

In 1999, while working as a hotel manager in the Caribbean, Mardones was caught outside during Hurricane Lenny. As the category 4 storm barreled down, Fran was thrown over a cliff. The accident broke her back and caused her to spend a year in the hospital. After undergoing more than 20 surgeries, Mardones' legs no longer functioned - but she held the future in her hands.

"I couldn't move," recalled Fran. "I couldn't talk. I couldn't do anything. I said, 'your life will change only if you want it to."

As she was rehabbing and adjusting to her new life, Francisca was introduced to wheelchair tennis. She had never picked up a racket before. That was only seven years ago.

"Tennis gave me a lot of things in my life," admitted Mardones.

When it comes to rules, the only difference between wheelchair tennis and able bodied tennis is that Francisca and her competitors can allow the ball to bounce twice, rather than just once. But we very quickly learned Fran doesn't usually even need that second bounce.

She trains with Velasco and Ralston, a former Wimbledon doubles champion at Grey Rock - a facility she found while visiting a friend last year.

"We don't ask, we just say, 'Lord, thank you," said Velasco.

After competing for her native country in the London Paralympic games, Fran decided to move from Chile to Austin in January to train full time. She's currently number 16 in the world rankings.

"If I could go back 13 years ago, when I had my accident -  I would not change anything," said Mardones.

Life may have served up an unforced error, but like a true tennis pro, Fran rallied - and even put her own spin on the return.

By Adam WinklerFran-Tastic: Austin is Home to One of World's Best Wheelchair Tennis Players


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Scores & Schedules

September 05, 2015 07:12 GMT

AM Prep-Scores and Skeds

MLB

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Friday's Games

N.Y. Yankees 5, Tampa Bay 2

Baltimore 10, Toronto 2

Cleveland 8, Detroit 1

Boston 7, Philadelphia 5

Chicago White Sox 12, Kansas City 1

Houston 8, Minnesota 0

Seattle 11, Oakland 8

L.A. Angels 5, Texas 2

Saturday's Games

Tampa Bay (M.Moore 1-3) at N.Y. Yankees (Eovaldi 14-2), 1:05 p.m.

Baltimore (M.Wright 2-3) at Toronto (Price 13-5), 1:07 p.m.

Philadelphia (Asher 0-1) at Boston (Miley 10-10), 4:05 p.m.

Cleveland (Salazar 12-7) at Detroit (Simon 11-9), 7:08 p.m.

Chicago White Sox (Quintana 7-10) at Kansas City (D.Duffy 7-6), 7:10 p.m.

Minnesota (E.Santana 3-4) at Houston (McCullers 5-5), 7:10 p.m.

Seattle (F.Hernandez 15-8) at Oakland (Chavez 7-13), 9:05 p.m.

Texas (D.Holland 2-1) at L.A. Angels (Weaver 6-10), 9:05 p.m.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Friday's Games

Chicago Cubs 14, Arizona 5

Washington 5, Atlanta 2, 10 innings

Miami 6, N.Y. Mets 5, 11 innings

Boston 7, Philadelphia 5

Pittsburgh 9, St. Louis 3

Colorado 2, San Francisco 1

L.A. Dodgers 8, San Diego 4

Milwaukee at Cincinnati, ppd., rain

Saturday's Games

Milwaukee (W.Peralta 5-8) at Cincinnati (Jo.Lamb 0-3), 1:10 p.m., 1st game

Arizona (Ray 3-10) at Chicago Cubs (Arrieta 17-6), 2:20 p.m.

Philadelphia (Asher 0-1) at Boston (Miley 10-10), 4:05 p.m.

Pittsburgh (Morton 8-6) at St. Louis (Jai.Garcia 7-4), 4:05 p.m.

Milwaukee (Garza 6-14) at Cincinnati (Sampson 2-2), 6:10 p.m., 2nd game

Atlanta (S.Miller 5-12) at Washington (G.Gonzalez 9-7), 7:05 p.m.

N.Y. Mets (B.Colon 12-11) at Miami (B.Hand 4-4), 7:10 p.m.

San Francisco (Peavy 4-6) at Colorado (Bettis 6-4), 8:10 p.m.

L.A. Dodgers (A.Wood 9-9) at San Diego (T.Ross 10-9), 8:40 p.m.

TOP-25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Friday's Games

( 4) Baylor 56, Southern Methodist 21

( 5) Michigan State 37, Western Michigan 24

(23) Boise State 16 Washington 13

Saturday's Games

( 3) Alabama vs. (20) Wisconsin at Arlington, Texas, 8 p.m.

( 6) Auburn vs. Louisville at Atlanta, 3:30 p.m.

( 7) Oregon vs. Eastern Washington, 8 p.m.

( 8) Southern Cal vs. Arkansas State, 11 p.m.

( 9) Georgia vs. Louisiana-Monroe, Noon

(10) Florida State vs. Texas State, 8 p.m.

(11) Notre Dame vs. Texas, 7:30 p.m.

(12) Clemson vs. Wofford, 12:30 p.m.

(13) UCLA vs. Virginia, 3:30 p.m.

(14) LSU vs. McNeese State, 7:30 p.m.

(15) Arizona State vs. Texas A&M at Houston, 7 p.m.

(17) Mississippi vs. UT-Martin, Noon

(18) Arkansas vs. UTEP, 3:30 p.m.

(19) Oklahoma vs. Akron, 7 p.m.

(21) Stanford at Northwestern, Noon

(24) Missouri vs. Southeast Missouri, 4 p.m.

(25) Tennessee vs. Bowling Green at Nashville, Tenn., 4 p.m.

WNBA

Friday's Games

Connecticut 73, San Antonio 72

Minnesota 81, Indiana 65

Saturday's Games

Phoenix at San Antonio, 8 p.m.

MLS

Friday

No Games Scheduled

Saturday's Games

Orlando City at New England, 7:30 p.m.

Chicago at Montreal, 8 p.m.

Toronto FC at Seattle, 10 p.m.

Philadelphia at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.

Longhorn Football Scoreboard

Longhorn Football News

 

KEYE-TV Sports Team


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