Q&A with the Legaspi Family
In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we are highlighting members of our community and sharing their unique perspectives on the importance of recognizing AAPI Heritage Month, diversity in tennis, and a reflection on their personal tennis stories.
Meet the Legaspis, a family of five who all play tennis and share a special bond through the sport. Marciano and Rosalinda Legaspi met on the tennis courts and passed on their love of the sport to their children, Herzyl, 33, Hermont, 24, and Herrick, 18. The Legaspis thought of tennis as a great opportunity for their kids to succeed and help them grow into the best people that they could be. The family shares their thoughts on playing tennis together and why diversity in tennis is important.
The Legaspi Family
Q: When did each of you start playing tennis and how did you get introduced to the game?
Marciano: I first heard about tennis from a brief conversation with my friend in his local racquet club in his province of Pangasinan, Philippines. I started hitting a couple of tennis balls on the wall, and then eventually I started hitting with him and his friends a few months after that.
Rosalinda: I played tennis in high school, along with some of my siblings. I also met my husband playing tennis a few courts down from me.
Hermont: My sister (Herzyl) was the first to be introduced to tennis through my dad at six years old. Eventually, I was introduced to it through my dad and sister one day at the Amador Valley Park tennis courts in Vallejo at the same age.
Herrick: I started playing tennis at the age of three. I was introduced to the sport by my family. Whenever my siblings would go practice, I would go along as well, so it was inevitable that I would play tennis.
Q: Marciano and Rosalinda, what advice do you have for other parents who are raising tennis kids and going through the junior pathway?
Marciano: The most invaluable advice I would give for other parents raising tennis kids would be to remind their kids that they need to help themselves, despite having a multitude of support and guidance from other family members, friends, etc. That, I believe, is the driving force for kids to be present and successful by their own choice and will, rather than putting kids into tennis by force.
Rosalinda: I would say to have faith and believe in the process of your kids improving and growing gradually, whether it is in tennis or not, as we all grow and improve ourselves throughout our lives.
Q: Rosalina, when did you move to the US from the Philippines? What was that transition like for you?
Rosalinda: I first moved to the US from the Philippines in July 1991 with my daughter Herzyl with the help of my eldest brother, Freddie Quinto, who petitioned all of my siblings to move here as well. A few years later, in August 1997, my brother petitioned my husband to come to the states. I thought it was a smooth transition with my eldest brother being in the Navy and being the one that was capable and willing to gather all of us here.
Q: How does it feel to be part of a tennis family where all of the siblings either compete or have competed at a high level?
Herrick: It feels great to be a part of a tennis family that’s cumulatively competed at a high level. My siblings would pass down their experiences and knowledge from their tennis careers, and it has helped me become the competitor that I am today. I wouldn’t have grown and succeeded in the sport I play without the help and guidance of my siblings.
Q: Hermont, what is your favorite thing about going head-to-head with your siblings in tennis?
Hermont: It’s definitely having that competitive nature and environment whenever I’m going head-to-head with my siblings. Even though we don’t necessarily have direct banter between points or get in each other’s faces all the time, there’s still that edge of competing that we’re all willing to have for ourselves to win again and again. I remember going up against my sister in my younger years, and I would skip drinking water in between the changeovers because I remember feeling so frustrated when my sister would dominate the majority of the points; I did grow out of it, but I am always still being hopeful that I would be in a different headspace than I was in the past.
Q: Do you have a favorite tennis memory together as a family?
Hermont: I remember there was a random photographer from the Vallejo Times Herald who worked during the time when we were all still living in the Bay Area, and he would ask if I wanted to be featured in one of their headlines for the week. I obviously took the opportunity to be headlined, so we took a couple of shots of me hitting my groundstrokes and waited until the next newspaper was published. After the newspaper was published, I gathered the page that had me in it and showed it to my whole third-grade class. I thought that was a cool moment to share!
Q: In honor of AAPI Month, why do you think it’s important to have diverse representation within the tennis community?
Herzyl: Tennis can blossom from anywhere and in any economic or cultural background. There’s so much strength and profound beauty to be gathered in that for all involved in the sport or witnesses to that growth and sense of community.
Q: Hermont, who has been an AAPI role model or inspiration for you?
Hermont: My sister Herzyl is my biggest AAPI role model without a doubt! We’ve shared a similar path and growing up to play college tennis and become ambitious outside of tennis. I’m always proud and grateful to her!
Q: Herrick, what are some of your tennis accomplishments? (Tournament titles, college awards, coaching certs, etc)
Herrick: My biggest tournament title/accomplishment would be the USTA National Hardcourts 14s in Mobile, Alabama with my close friend and incoming Auburn University recruit, Nicholas Heng.
Hermont: My biggest tennis accomplishments involve winning Big Sky Player of the Week three times throughout my whole college career. Another one was winning the doubles draw of the men’s Laguna Creek Open in the summer of 2019 with my longtime friend and partner, Vince Tabotabo. Beating up a couple of nationally ranked players at the top spot my last two years were also fulfilling moments in my career (#43 Jack Davis of Washington ‘20 and #23 Damon Kesaris of St. Mary’s College ‘21). Last but not least, getting better with my team and traveling with them throughout the years was something I would want to repeat again
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