Cagayanon tennister aims to follow in idol’s footsteps

Nov 4, 2011

by Mike Banos

A budding Kagay-anon tennis star in the making aims to follow in the footsteps of her idol and hopefully make it to the Australian Open in the future.

Margaret D. Alaba-Wheatley, born in Cagayan de Oro in 2000, is currently residing in Melbourne, Australia where she has won her first tennis medal at the age of nine.

Margaret

“Margaret has been taking tennis lessons every week and this year played competitively for the first time with a team of three boys and three girls,” said her proud mom, Peddy Alaba-Wheatley, sister of Margaret’s uncle Edu Alaba, who together with wife Linda Ching, runs the Dynamic chain of pharmacies and the school and office supplies store Paper Station.

“She started playing tennis just after she turned five in February 2006,” says her dad Simon.

“She did not play in a tournament but in a league,” he adds. “ The league is run by Eastern Region Tennis and she was in the XSD13 section. Through the season she played three sets per match: singles, girls’ doubles and mixed doubles. The majority of her opponents were at least two years older than her. She and her partner made it to the finals in the mixed doubles and won 6-2.”

Front Back

Front and back of Donvale Tennis Club in Melbourne, Australia.

The winning team was affiliated with the Donvale Tennis Club in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Donvale is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and is 20 km east of Melbourne’s central business district.

clay courts of Donvale Tennis Club The impeccably maintained clay courts of Donvale Tennis Club in Melbourne.

The Donvale Tennis Club was formed in 1965 and has a proud history as one of Victoria’s finest. The club was awarded Metropolitan Club of the Year by Tennis Victoria in 2004. The courts are located within the Donvale Recreation Reserve.

The head coach at the Donvale Tennis Club is Mark Hartnett, who won the Boys’ Doubles at the Australian Open in 1982, the very same competition coincidentally also won by Francis Casey “Nino” Alcantara of Cagayan de Oro in 2009. Margaret’s dream is to follow in the footsteps of these two champions to the amusement of her parents.

“Margaret is very proud of her Philippine heritage and so is very excited about getting her name and picture in a paper in her home town of Cagayan de Oro!” Simon grins.

Still, despite Margaret’s big dreams, her Dad especially is not too hot about the tennis future of his daughter.

“Margaret is not nationally ranked – I don’t think that there are rankings for nine-year olds – she is just a little girl who plays tennis quite well,” he says matter-of-factly.

Now, Dad, what if she started playing extremely well? We’ll have to cross that bridge when we come to it now, won’t we?

From her relatives and admirers in Cagayan de Oro, and Dakbayan sa Bulawanong Panaghigalaay (the City of Golden Friendship), we say Mabuhay Margaret!

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