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

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 10:47 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

November 29, 2014 08:11 GMT

Latest scores; Upcoming games

Friday's Scores

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Final Chicago 109 Boston 102

Final Golden State 106 Charlotte 101

Final Dallas 106 Toronto 102

Final Milwaukee 104 Detroit 88

Final Atlanta 100 New Orleans 91

Final L-A Clippers 102 Houston 85

Final Oklahoma City 105 New York 78

Final Indiana 98 Orlando 83

Final San Antonio 112 Sacramento 104

Final Denver 122 Phoenix 97

Final Memphis 112 Portland 99

Final Minnesota 120 L-A Lakers 119

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Final N-Y Rangers 3 Philadelphia 0

Final Chicago 4 Anaheim 1

Final Washington 5 N-Y Islanders 2

Final Carolina 4 Pittsburgh 2

Final 2OT Detroit 5 New Jersey 4 (SO Detroit 1-0)

Final Buffalo 2 Montreal 1

Final Vancouver 5 Columbus 0

Final OT Boston 2 Winnipeg 1

Final Florida 3 Ottawa 2

Final OT St. Louis 4 Edmonton 3

Final OT Minnesota 5 Dallas 4

TOP-25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Final Stanford 31 ( 9) U-C-L-A 10

Final (12) Arizona 42 (13) Arizona State 35

Final (17) Missouri 21 Arkansas 14

Final OT Western Kentucky 67 (19) Marshall 66

Final Air Force 27 (21) Colorado State 24

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Final ( 2) Wisconsin 69 Oklahoma 56

Final ( 5) North Carolina 75 (18) Florida 64

Final ( 8) Virginia 64 La Salle 56

Final (10) Gonzaga 73 St. John's 66

Final (11) Kansas 82 Tennessee 67

Final (16) Ohio St. 73 James Madison 56

Final (17) Miami 87 South Alabama 75

Final (20) Michigan St. 79 Marquette 68

Final (22) UCLA 88 UAB 76

Final Mississippi 75 (23) Creighton 68

Final (25) Arkansas 89 North Texas 73

TOP-25 WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Final ( 1) South Carolina 67 (22) Syracuse 63

Final ( 3) UConn 85 Coll. of Charleston 24

Final (11) North Carolina 70 ( 5) Stanford 54

Final ( 8) Duke 72 Stony Brook 42

Final OT ( 9) Kentucky 92 Oklahoma 88

Final (10) Maryland 80 James Madison 64

Final (12) Louisville 102 Lafayette 61

Final (13) Baylor 99 Utah St. 43

Final (14) California 110 San Jose St. 87

Final (15) Nebraska 71 UCLA 66

Final Arkansas 77 (17) Iowa 67

Final (21) Rutgers 60 Colgate 44

Saturday's Schedule - All Times EDT

TOP 25 FOOTBALL

No. 1 Florida State vs. Florida, 3:30 p.m.

No. 2 Alabama vs. No. 15 Auburn, 7:45 p.m.

No. 3 Oregon at Oregon State, 8 p.m.

No. 4 Mississippi State at No. 18 Mississippi, 3:30 p.m.

No. 5 Baylor vs. Texas Tech at Arlington, Texas, 3:30 p.m.

No. 7 Ohio State vs. Michigan, Noon

No. 8 Georgia vs. No. 16 Georgia Tech, Noon

No. 10 Michigan State at Penn State, 3:30 p.m.

No. 11 Kansas State vs. Kansas, 4 p.m.

No. 14 Wisconsin vs. No. 22 Minnesota, 3:30 p.m.

No. 23 Clemson vs. South Carolina, Noon

No. 24 Louisville vs. Kentucky, Noon

No. 25 Boise State vs. Utah State, 10:15 p.m.

TOP 25 BASKETBALL

Men

No. 8 Virginia vs. Rutgers at the Barclays Center, 9:30 p.m.

No. 9 Wichita State vs. Tulsa, 3 p.m.

No. 14 VCU at Old Dominion, 2 p.m.

No. 19 Michigan vs. Nicholls State, 4 p.m.

No. 21 West Virginia vs. College of Charleston, 7:30 p.m.

No. 23 Creighton vs. Middle Tennessee at The Arena, Niceville, Fla., 6 p.m.

Women

No. 3 UConn vs. Vanderbilt at Germain Arena, Estero, Fla., 8:30 p.m.

No. 5 Stanford at Hawaii, 9:30 p.m.

No. 9 Kentucky vs. South Florida at UVI Sports & Fitness Center, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, 8:15 p.m.

No. 10 Maryland vs. Washington State at Mario Morales Coliseum, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, 2:30 p.m.

No. 11 North Carolina vs. Prairie View at Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, 7 p.m.

No. 13 Baylor vs. Stetson, 1 p.m.

No. 14 California vs. Cincinnati or Creighton, 8 or 10 p.m.

No. 17 Iowa vs. Gonzaga at South Point Arena, Las Vegas, 6:30 p.m.

No. 18 DePaul vs. Northwestern, 8 p.m.

No. 19 Oregon State vs. BYU at at George Q. Cannon Activities Center, Laie, Hawaii, 6 p.m.

No. 20 Oklahoma State vs. Texas State, 3 p.m.

No. 22 Georgia at Tennessee Tech, 7 p.m.

No. 22 West Virginia vs. Fairfield, 2 p.m.

No. 25 Mississippi State at New Orleans, 3 p.m.

NBA

Dallas at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

New Orleans at Washington, 7 p.m.

Charlotte at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.

Indiana at Cleveland, 7:30 p.m.

L.A. Clippers at Utah, 9 p.m.

Houston at Milwaukee, 9 p.m.

NHL

Buffalo at Montreal, 7 p.m.

Ottawa at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Carolina, 7 p.m.

Washington at Toronto, 7 p.m.

Philadelphia at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.

New Jersey at N.Y. Islanders, 7 p.m.

St. Louis at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Columbus at Nashville, 8 p.m.

Dallas at Colorado, 9 p.m.

Calgary at Arizona, 10 p.m.

Chicago at Los Angeles, 10 p.m.

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

MLS PLAYOFFS

Conference Championships, Second Leg

New York at New England, 3 p.m.

Sunday

NFL

Tennessee at Houston, 1 p.m.

Oakland at St. Louis, 1 p.m.

Carolina at Minnesota, 1 p.m.

Washington at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at Buffalo, 1 p.m.

San Diego at Baltimore, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Giants at Jacksonville, 1 p.m.

Cincinnati at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

New Orleans at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

Arizona at Atlanta, 4:05 p.m.

New England at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m.

Denver at Kansas City, 8:30 p.m.

TOP 25 BASKETBALL

Men

No. 1 Kentucky vs. Providence, 2 p.m.

No. 4 Duke vs. Army, Noon

No. 7 Texas at No. 24 UConn, Noon

No. 11 Kansas vs. No. 20 Michigan St. at HP Field House, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., 4 p.m.

No. 12 Villanova vs. Delaware, 4:30 p.m.

No. 25 Arkansas vs. Iona, 3:30 p.m.

Women

No. 2 Notre Dame vs. Kansas at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn., 1 p.m.

No. 3 UConn vs. TBA at Germain Arena, Estero, Fla., TBA

No. 4 Tennessee at No. 6 Texas, 6:30 p.m.

No. 5 Stanford vs. Prairie View at Stan Sheriff Center, Honolulu, 7 p.m.

No. 7 Texas A&M vs. No. 8 Duke, 1 p.m.

No. 11 North Carolina at Hawaii, 9:30 p.m.

No. 13 Baylor vs. Marist, 3 p.m.

No. 15 Nebraska vs. Northern Colorado, 3 p.m.

No. 16 Michigan State vs. Miami (Ohio), 2 p.m.

No. 21 Rutgers vs. Davidson, 1 p.m.

NBA

San Antonio at Boston, 1 p.m.

Chicago at Brooklyn, 3 p.m.

Golden State at Detroit, 3:30 p.m.

Memphis at Sacramento, 6 p.m.

Miami at New York, 7:30 p.m.

Orlando at Phoenix, 8 p.m.

Minnesota at Portland, 9 p.m.

Toronto at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m.

NHL

Vancouver at Detroit, 2 p.m.

MLS PLAYOFFS

Conference Championships

LA Galaxy at Seattle, 9 p.m.

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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