SAN ANTONIO'S CRAWLEY
WINS GOLD AT CLAY COURTS
Kathryn Barrett | August 1, 2017
First, a bronze ball at Spring Team Nationals. Then came silver in the Easter Bowl. And now Fiona Crawley adds a coveted USTA gold ball to her collection! Not a bad year for the San Antonio resident, who earned her first USTA gold ball at the USTA National Girls’ 16 Clay Court Championships a month after winning the Texas Grand Slam. “I’ve always wanted a gold ball. This is my first. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m happy I got it”, she said.
Fiona, who was seeded #1, defeated second seed Ruth Marsh, of Atlanta, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 after a hot and humid week of play that was even interrupted once by a thunderstorm.
“I can’t remember the last time it worked out that the top two seeds played each other in the finals,” said tournament director Laurie Hackbirth. It was the 30th anniversary of the tournament, held at Virginia Beach Tennis and Country Club. ADVERTISEMENT
“I tried to anticipate her drop shots and get up to the net. She’s really good at the net,” Fiona said about her opponent. Ruth had not lost a set until the championship match, including seven sets she won at 6-0.
After losing the first game in the third set, Fiona said she told herself to “go out there and play my game”, which meant stepping
Fiona is coached by her father, Col. Peter Crawley, MD, USAF, who played collegiate tennis at Michigan State. She also trains at John Newcombe Tennis Ranch in New Braunfels with Phil and PJ Hendrie.
The rising sophomore attends Alamo Heights High School and played on her high school team, something that’s unusual among top junior players these days. She teamed with Brittany Wilbur to capture Texas 5A girls doubles championship-- as a freshman-- working her USTA tournament travel schedule around academics and the school team. She said, “It’s really hard and I had so many make-up hours to do!”
Being the daughter of a military member has its perks. During the tournament, Fiona and her mother stayed in an oceanfront cabin on a Navy base in Virginia Beach. The half hour drive back and forth to the tournament was worth it for the rare opportunity to stay right on the ocean without paying oceanfront hotel prices.
But it has its downsides, too. The rising sophomore will have to make a change in coaches this fall. That’s when Fiona’s father is being deployed to Afghanistan. Facing separation comes with the territory for military families but in Fiona’s case, she’ll be missing not only her dad but her main coach, too, as she tries to add to her growing collection of USTA balls and trophies.