September 18, 2019
Latest News

Bolivian siblings say passion for tennis at root of Pan Am Games success

By Gina Baldivieso

La Paz, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Bolivian siblings Federico and Noelia Zeballos say the passion for tennis that courses through their veins is what led them to the professional ranks and allowed them to secure the Andean nation's first-ever Pan American Games medal in that sport.

That event in Lima finished 10 days ago, but the Zeballos duo told EFE after receiving a recognition from the Bolivian Tennis Federation that they still are on cloud nine over their unprecedented silver medal and that the feeling is even more special because they won it together.

"We've trained together since we were very young. My father was the one who taught us to play tennis, and having done this alongside her makes it very special," Federico said.

Noelia echoed those thoughts, saying the feat is much more meaningful because of the sentimental aspect.

"Having achieved this triumph (with Federico) is even more special and beautiful because you know that all the efforts you made paid off," she said.

The siblings dedicated their medal to their father and coach, Freddy Zeballos, who "was always there battling" alongside his children, Federico said. Noelia said for her part that it was the "least they could do in exchange for everything he did for us."

"I think it was a family victory," Freddy told EFE proudly, noting that his son and daughter faced extremely tough competition on their road to the Pan American Games mixed doubles final.

Tennis is a big part of life in the Zeballos household, with Freddy's wife, Carmen Melgar, being a physiotherapist and the couple's youngest daughter, Fabiana, working as a tennis instructor and sports psychologist.

Natives of the eastern Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, the 31-year-old Federico and 25-year-old Noelia remembered that as young children they got their feet wet in tennis by tagging along when their father taught classes as a local club.

Federico said he realized at age 13 that he wanted to be a professional tennis player and subsequently moved to Argentina and later to Spain on a scholarship in search of better training opportunities.

"It was a really tough start because you need a lot of money to pursue professional tennis. It's a very expensive sport. You're traveling every week to a different country. You have to pay for hotels and food in places that are very expensive," he said.

But economic constraints did not stop Federico, who recalled he slept on the street in Spain and on the beach in Italy when he couldn't find affordable lodging for international events.

At one tournament, he even brought along his stringing machine and strung the racquets of his fellow competitors to cover the cost of his stay.

"And you remember those types of things when you're playing a match," Federico said, adding that he reminded Noelia of that difficult road to motivate her during their semifinal match in Lima.

"We never had the economic resources. We never had the support of any institution, any place, and we always did it through sheer grit. That means saving money on hotels or traveling very little," Noelia said.

Like her brother, she knew she wanted to pursue tennis as a career at the age of 13 and made the switch to a night high school so she could train during the day.

She eventually followed in her brother's footsteps and started paying her way to tournaments in Europe, saying that although she encountered economic obstacles she now knows how to move around more affordably.

Achievements like their Pan American Games medal are "bit more satisfying" considering the financial difficulties they encountered along the way, Federico said.

Prior to capturing the silver medal in Lima, Federico and countryman Murkel Alejandro Dellien Velasco won men's doubles gold at the Bolivarian Games in Trujillo, Peru, in 2013.

Noelia also is a Bolivarian Games medal winner, having teamed with Boris Arias to capture silver in Santa Marta, Colombia, in 2017.

The Zeballos siblings also finished fourth in mixed doubles at the South American Games in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2018.

Federico now has his sights set on competing in the men's doubles event at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo alongside Hugo Dellien, who in 2018 became the first Bolivian player to achieve a top-100 ATP singles ranking in 34 years.

Noelia, who has a goal of breaking into the top 100 of the WTA singles rankings, said she hopes their Pan American Games medal opens the door for steady financial support for the remainder of their careers. EFE-EPA


News history
Marquez earns doubly valuable victory in San Marino

By Juan Antonio Llados

Spain claims gold at Basketball World Cup after thrashing Argentina

Beijing, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- Spain basketball men's national team won Sunday its second FIBA World Cup crown after overcoming Argentina 95-75 in the final...

Maradona makes stumbling debut as Gimnasia coach

Buenos Aires, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- Diego Maradona had a bitter first outing as the new coach for Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata, falling to Racing Club 2-1...

Marquez tops Quartararo in thrilling end to San Marino MotoGP

Misano Adriatico, Italy, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- Spaniard Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC 213 V) on Sunday prevailed over Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha YZR M...

Bodybuilding gains ground in Gaza

Palestinian bodybuilders were competing in a fitness championship in Gaza City on Sunday. Over 70 gyms have been set up in Gaza in just over a decade as...

France grabs basketball World Cup bronze from Australia

Beijing, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- The national men's basketball team of France earned Sunday the bronze medal in the FIBA World Cup held in China at the expense...

Suzuki earns his maiden Moto3 victory at San Marino

Misano Adriatico, Italy, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- Japanese rider Tatsuki Suzuki (Honda) on Sunday earned his maiden victory at Misano's World Circuit Marco...

Real Sociedad downs Atletico 2-0 in new stadium, Barca routs Valencia 5-2

San Sebastian, Spain, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- The fiesta celebrating Real Sociedad's new stadium - formerly Anoeta, now Reale Arena - was complete as the home...

Man City stunned by Norwich, fall 5 points behind league-leading Liverpool

Norwich, England, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- Two-time defending champion Manchester City find themselves five points behind league-leading Liverpool after stumbling...

Close battle expected between surprise FIBA World Cup finalists

Beijing, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- Argentina and Spain will face off on Sunday at Beijing's Wukesong Sport Arena for the FIBA Basketball World Cup title, a clash...

Gimnasia y Esgrima ready for Maradona's much-anticipated debut

By Sebastian Meresman

Viñales snatches pole position from Espargaro for San Marino MotoGP

Misano Adriatico, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- Spanish rider Maverick Viñales of Yamaha snatched pole position from his compatriot Pol Espargaro of KTM ahead of the...

Benzema leads Madrid to 3-2 win over Levante

Madrid, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- Real Madrid on Saturday prevailed over Levante 3-2 and earned its first home-league win of the season on the strength of a brace...

Quartararo sets the pace in 3rd practice session ahead of San Marino MotoGP

Misano Adriatico, Italy, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- France's Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha YZR M 1) on Saturday topped his Spanish teammate Maverick Viñales in the third...

Australia seeks to bag historic bronze against powerful France

Beijing, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- The national men's basketball teams of Australia and France are set to put up a tenacious fight over the weekend as the two...

France out, Argentina to play Spain in Basketball World Cup final

Beijing, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Argentina booked a place in the Basketball World Cup final in China on Friday after defeating France 80-66.

Inspired Areola hopes for a great season with Real Madrid

Madrid, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- France goalkeeper Alphonse Areola was thrilled during his presentation as a Real Madrid player on Friday for getting to wear the...

Soccer and language lessons help young refugees integrate in Belgium

By Laura Zornoza

Kobe Bryant: Days of US Dream Team are over

Beijing, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Kobe Bryant said that the days of America's 1992 Barcelona Olympics "Dream Team" are over, at a Basketball World Cup press...

Spain reaches basketball world cup final after win over Australia

Beijing, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Spain beat Australia and went through to the Basketball World Cup final in China after a double overtime Friday.

Mourinho: "Messi made me a better coach"

By Luis Villarejo

Zinedine Zidane says Eden Hazard is ready for Real Madrid debut

Madrid, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane said Friday that Belgium forward Eden Hazard is prepared to debut with the Spanish club...

Alonso teams up with Coma in Lichtenburg 400

Madrid, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Spanish two-time Formula 1 World Champion, Fernando Alonso, will pair up with five-time Dakar Rally winner in the motorbike...

Tokyo Olympics organizers test artificial snow machines to beat the heat

Tokyo, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- The organizing committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games used artificial snow machines on Friday to test their...

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.