The Caribbean 4.0 Senior women's team.
© Joe Murphy
By J. Fred Sidhu, special to USTA.com
INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – They’ve added excitement and joy to the USTA 4.0 Senior League National Championships. Their happiness and enthusiasm is unmatched on and off the tennis court. They are the USTA Caribbean Section 4.0 women’s senior team from Puerto Rico.
Since it arrived in Indian Wells for the USTA League Nationals, the Caribbean team, which hails from Bayamon, P.R., has made its presence known.
The team, led by Captain Sonia Navarro, made a grand entrance at the players’ party which took place on Thursday night at the Miramonte Resort and Spa near the Indian Wells Tennis Garden where the National Championships are being played.
Wearing straw hats and dressed in black, the team members proudly paraded around the dining tables and waved their national colors as they took over the dance floor and gave those attending the party something to remember: a bit of Puerto Rican flavor.
Dressing up for the party has become somewhat of a tradition for the Caribbean Section women’s team. This year team member Annie Mayol, who is playing in her eighth USTA League National Championship, suggested the idea to Navarro.
"It’s part of our culture. We’re happy people," said Navarro, who is playing in her first USTA League National Championship. "We like to enjoy it."
According to Navarro, tennis is very popular in Puerto Rico and they take great joy in putting league teams together.
"When we put our teams together, we’re very happy and supportive of each other. Of course, our goal is to win matches, but we are very happy in everything that we do," she said.
The Puerto Rican women’s team had to work hard and make many plans for the long trip from Puerto Rico to California. Once they got to Indian Wells, they wanted to make sure they had a good time.
"The idea was to come here as a team and enjoy our time in this beautiful location," Navarro said. "Even if we don’t win, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we reached the Nationals. We are very proud to represent our country -- Puerto Rico."