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Caribbean women’s team honors late captain

October 29, 2010 07:41 PM
The Caribbean women's team at the 2010 USTA League National Championships in Tucson, AZ from October 28 to October 31.
Emma Mendoza died after a seven month battle with cancer.
By Matt Birch

Tucson, Ariz.- Emma Mendoza’s presence is being felt this weekend at the 2010 USTA League 3.5 Adult National Championships, even though she is not physically at the Jim Reffkin Tennis Center.
Mendoza was the captain of the Parque Central club team from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and had been playing tennis for eight years, when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last December. 
Unfortunately, she passed away in July at age 41 after a seven month battle with cancer, just before her team won the Caribbean sectional title to advance to this weekend’s tournament in Tucson.
Current team captain Arlene Gardon said that the team honored Mendoza at the sectional tournament as well as this weekend’s tournament to Mendoza.
"We are dedicating our tennis tournaments to her," Gardon said. "Emma was a very happy person. She was very helpful with people. Everyone around her loved her, and she came from a very close family."
Mendoza’s sister Zuleyka Mendoza also plays tennis and competes at the 4.0 level in Puerto Rico.
Team member Brenda Massanet explained that Mendonza was not only a big influence on the Parque Central team, but also was very important in the Puerto Rican tennis community.
"She was a lively, well loved person in Puerto Rico," Massanet said. "She was loud and was very funny, and many people in San Juan rallied around our team after Emma’s death."
Mendoza had a big impact on all of her teammates, and they are very passionate about playing in her honor. Brenda Osuna summarized the feelings of her teammates and how they feel, now that they are competing without their captain.
"Every time we play, she is always on the court with us," Osuna said.


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