Competition Fierce at Girls Tennis Tournament in Central Park
By Della Hasselle
CENTRAL PARK — A Manhattan girls tennis team dubbed "Central Park" almost made it to the finals in a citywide tennis tournament Tuesday that drew over 150 young competitors.
But in the last round of matches, the Central Park team was eliminated, leaving Long Island team Silver Lake, Brooklyn team McKinley and Staten Island team Wolfs Pond as the top three finalists.
“Awww,” Manhattan Borough tennis director David Gimm said after a girl from his Central Park team sulked after they lost a match. “They were on such a high from the first victory.”
Altogether, Gimm was impressed with how well the Manhattan team played in the tournament, which was held in Central Park.
“They’ve definitely stepped up their game. We’re proud of them.”
The team competition is the culmination of a free program offered by the City Parks Foundation, which aspires to give kids exercise and self-confidence through six weeks of lessons in more than 36 parks throughout the five boroughs.
Tuesday’s games determined which three of the 11 girls teams, all named after parks from the five boroughs, are slated to go on to the finals Monday. The boys’ teams will play Wednesday.
The reactions from the players, all girls aged 9 to 16, were varied.
“We were horrible,” said Upper West Side resident Antonia Stefanesco, 12, a first-time tennis player. “I try to do my best.”
Reilanni Ramos, a 12-year-old from the Bronx who won one game and lost another for the Central Park team, was a bit more upbeat.
“I thought we did pretty good,” said Ramos, an aspiring tennis player and biochemical engineer.
“I will have to work harder. [The program] helps to push me harder,” she added.