HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
Ashley Marshall | October 9, 2018
It's National Hispanic Heritage Month, and to celebrate, USTA.com is honoring players and coaches of Hispanic heritage who are making a mark on the game of tennis. Let’s take a look at
some of the players who are making their way up the professional ranks.
Ernesto Escobedo: Escobedo was born in Los Angeles in 1996 to parents Ernesto and Cristina, who are from Jerez, Mexico. He reached the second round of consecutive majors at the 2016 US Open and the 2017 Australian Open. Currently ranked No. 220 in the ATP rankings, Escobedo (pictured above) recorded wins over fellow Americans Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe in back-to-back tournaments in Acapulco and Indian Wells earlier this year. “I feel I’m from both countries,” Escobedo told ATP World Tour at an event in Los Cabos, Mexico, last year.
“I can’t forget that my family is from Mexico, a magnificent country. I love to come here, the people are very nice. But, at the same time, I was born and raised in the United States.”
Christina McHale: McHale’s mother Margarita was born in Cuba, while her father John is Irish American. The baseliner has reached the third round of the US Open twice, in 2011 and 2013, although she lost in the opening round of all four majors this year for the first time in her 10-year professional career. McHale, who has represented the U.S. in Fed Cup and the Pan American Games, reached the semifinals of the US Open mixed doubles this summer. The 26-year-old New Jersey native is ranked No. 124 in the WTA rankings.
Irina Falconi: Born in Portoviejo, Ecuador, to parents Carlos and Silvia Falconi, the 28-year-old qualified for the Australian Open in January but lost in qualies at the following three Slams. The right-hander played tennis for two years at Georgia Tech before turning pro in 2006. Currently living in West Palm Beach, Fla., Falconi won her first title in Bogota, Colombia, in 2016. She is currently No. 228 in the world.
Katerina Stewart: Stewart is the daughter of Argentine-Italian mother Marina and Romanian father Caesar. She reached the final of the girls’ doubles at Roland Garros with fellow American Caroline Dolehide in 2015, a year before she enrolled at West Point Preparatory School, the prep school of the U.S. Military Academy. Tennis runs in the family as Junior Orange Bowl champion Stewart’s mother competed on the WTA tour before she moved from Argentina to Florida, while her father has been a coach for almost three decades. The 21-year-old reached a career-high No. 158 in the world in July 2015.
Usue Maitane Arconada: Arconada was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Alejandro and Cecilia Arconada in 1998. The teenager won the Wimbledon junior doubles title in 2016 with Claire Liu and has been ranked as high as No. 5 in the ITF girls’ rankings. She also reached the Wimbledon junior singles finals in 2016 and the second round of the US Open Qualifying Tournament later that summer. She reached a career-best of No. 218 in the WTA rankings last June, and she has spent all of 2018 competing on the ITF circuit, including a run to the semifinals in Osprey in May. Arconada’s younger brother Jordi is playing tennis at Texas A&M and previously played in the qualifying tournament for the French Open juniors and in the main draw of the boys’ competition at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Sabrina Santamaria: Born to Panamanian father Ivan and Philippine mother Annie in Los Angeles. Santamaria is currently ranked a career-high No. 56 in doubles. She has won three doubles titles in 2018 alone, reaching the final of four others. Coached by her father, the 25-year-old right-hander won two ITF singles titles in 2016 and 2017, the latter of which helped her climb to a year-end position of No. 433 in the singles standings.
J.C. Aragone: Part of three NCAA Men’s Division I championships at the University of Virginia between 2015-17, J.C. (short for Juan Cruz) Aragone is an Argentine-American born in Buenos Aires and raised in California. The son of Paula and Facundo Aragone, the 23-year-old turned pro in 2017 and came through qualifying as a wild card to reach the main draw of the US Open in his Grand Slam debut. Currently ranked a career-high No. 239, Aragone has won two Futures events this year and reached the quarterfinals of three ATP Challenger-level events.