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Fran-Tastic: Austin is Home to One of World's Best Wheelchair Tennis Players

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 10:47 PM CDT

Plenty of players hold court at Grey Rock Tennis Club. However, few hold a candle to Francisca Mardones.

"It's almost impossible to describe how amazing it is," said former United States Davis Cup Captain, Dennis Rolston.

Francisca enjoys tennis because it's an individual sport. Therefore, a match is as much about you as it is about your opponent.

"You compete against your mind and your body," said Mardones.

And if anyone knows the power of mind and body, it's Fran.

"She's got a strong body, strong heart," said Fernando Velasco, owner/general manager of Grey Rock Tennis Center.

In 1999, while working as a hotel manager in the Caribbean, Mardones was caught outside during Hurricane Lenny. As the category 4 storm barreled down, Fran was thrown over a cliff. The accident broke her back and caused her to spend a year in the hospital. After undergoing more than 20 surgeries, Mardones' legs no longer functioned - but she held the future in her hands.

"I couldn't move," recalled Fran. "I couldn't talk. I couldn't do anything. I said, 'your life will change only if you want it to."

As she was rehabbing and adjusting to her new life, Francisca was introduced to wheelchair tennis. She had never picked up a racket before. That was only seven years ago.

"Tennis gave me a lot of things in my life," admitted Mardones.

When it comes to rules, the only difference between wheelchair tennis and able bodied tennis is that Francisca and her competitors can allow the ball to bounce twice, rather than just once. But we very quickly learned Fran doesn't usually even need that second bounce.

She trains with Velasco and Ralston, a former Wimbledon doubles champion at Grey Rock - a facility she found while visiting a friend last year.

"We don't ask, we just say, 'Lord, thank you," said Velasco.

After competing for her native country in the London Paralympic games, Fran decided to move from Chile to Austin in January to train full time. She's currently number 16 in the world rankings.

"If I could go back 13 years ago, when I had my accident -  I would not change anything," said Mardones.

Life may have served up an unforced error, but like a true tennis pro, Fran rallied - and even put her own spin on the return.

By Adam WinklerFran-Tastic: Austin is Home to One of World's Best Wheelchair Tennis Players


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Scores & Schedules

November 23, 2014 08:19 GMT

Latest scores; Upcoming games

Saturday's Scores

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Final Miami 99 Orlando 92

Final Phoenix 106 Indiana 83

Final New York 91 Philadelphia 83

Final Toronto 110 Cleveland 93

Final Houston 95 Dallas 92

Final Sacramento 113 Minnesota 101

Final San Antonio 99 Brooklyn 87

Final Washington 111 Milwaukee 100

Final New Orleans 106 Utah 94

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Final St. Louis 3 Ottawa 2

Final Buffalo 2 Washington 1

Final Philadelphia 4 Columbus 2

Final Toronto 4 Detroit 1

Final Tampa Bay 2 Minnesota 1

Final Montreal 2 Boston 0

Final N-Y Islanders 4 Pittsburgh 1

Final 2OT Nashville 3 Florida 2 (SO Nashville 1-0)

Final Dallas 5 Los Angeles 4

Final Colorado 4 Carolina 3

Final Chicago 7 Edmonton 1

Final 2OT Calgary 5 New Jersey 4 (SO Calgary 2-1)

Final 2OT Arizona 4 San Jose 3 (SO Arizona 1-0)

TOP-25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Final ( 1) Florida State 20 Boston College 17

Final ( 2) Alabama 48 Western Carolina 14

Final ( 3) Oregon 44 Colorado 10

Final ( 4) Mississippi State 51 Vanderbilt 0

Final ( 6) Baylor 49 Oklahoma State 28

Final ( 7) Ohio State 42 Indiana 27

Final Arkansas 30 ( 8) Mississippi 0

Final ( 9) Georgia 55 Charleston Southern 9

Final (10) Michigan State 45 Rutgers 3

Final (11) U-C-L-A 38 (24) Southern California 20

Final (13) Arizona State 52 Washington State 31

Final (14) Wisconsin 26 Iowa 24

Final (15) Arizona 42 (20) Utah 10

Final (16) Auburn 31 Samford 7

Final (18) Marshall 23 Alabama-Birmingham 18

Final (19) Missouri 29 Tennessee 21

Final Minnesota 28 (21) Nebraska 24

Final (22) Colorado State 58 New Mexico 20

Final (23) Oklahoma 44 Kansas 7

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Final ( 3) Wisconsin 78 Boise St. 54

Final ( 4) Duke 70 Stanford 59

Final ( 6) North Carolina 90 Davidson 72

Final (13) Gonzaga 109 St. Thomas Aquinas 55

Final OT Rhode Island 66 (21) Nebraska 62

Final (22) SMU 77 E. Washington 68

TOP-25 WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Final ( 9) Maryland 75 George Washington 65

Final (13) Kentucky 71 Cent. Michigan 68

Final (18) DePaul 84 S. Dakota St. 62

Final (18) Iowa 90 Dayton 83

Final (20) Oregon St. 92 Concordia (Ore.) 35

Final (21) Oklahoma St. 77 Missouri St. 36

Final (22) Rutgers 64 LSU 57

Final (23) Syracuse 77 Jacksonville 61

Sunday's Schedule - All Times EST

NFL

Green Bay at Minnesota, 1 p.m.

Cincinnati at Houston, 1 p.m.

Tampa Bay at Chicago, 1 p.m.

Cleveland at Atlanta, 1 p.m.

Tennessee at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.

Detroit at New England, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.

N.Y. Jets at Buffalo, ppd., snow

Arizona at Seattle, 4:05 p.m.

St. Louis at San Diego, 4:05 p.m.

Washington at San Francisco, 4:25 p.m.

Miami at Denver, 4:25 p.m.

Dallas at N.Y. Giants, 8:30 p.m.

TOP 25 BASKETBALL

Men

No. 1 Kentucky vs. Montana State, 6 p.m.

No. 11 Wichita State vs. Newman, 3 p.m.

No. 17 UConn vs. West Virginia at San Juan, Puerto Rico, 6:30 p.m.

No. 18 Oklahoma vs. Northwestern State, 3 p.m.

No. 20 Ohio State vs. Sacred Heart, 7 p.m.

Women

No. 1 UConn vs. Creighton, 1 p.m.

No. 2 South Carolina vs. San Diego State, 2 p.m.

No. 3 Notre Dame vs. Holy Cross, 5 p.m.

No. 7 Duke vs. Marquette, 2 p.m.

No. 10 Texas at UCLA, 4 p.m.

No. 11 North Carolina at Oregon, 6 p.m.

No. 12 Louisville vs. Ball State, 2 p.m.

No. 14 California vs. Missouri at Honolulu, 9:30 p.m.

No. 15 Michigan State vs. IUPUI, 2 p.m.

No. 16 Nebraska vs. Utah, 2 p.m.

No. 24 Georgia at Georgia Tech, 2 p.m.

No. 24 Purdue vs. Toledo, 2 p.m.

NBA

L.A. Clippers at Memphis, 6 p.m.

Portland at Boston, 6 p.m.

Charlotte at Miami, 6 p.m.

Golden State at Oklahoma City, 7 p.m.

Denver at L.A. Lakers, 9:30 p.m.

NHL

St. Louis at Winnipeg, 4:30 p.m.

Montreal at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.

Arizona at Anaheim, 8 p.m.

Chicago at Vancouver, 9:30 p.m.

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KEYE-TV Sports Team


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