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12 July 2013 | in Tennis, Summer Universiade

A Family Affair


 Sisters Fabiana (left) and Fernanda Chiaparini play together as the Brazilian women’s double pairing

KAZAN - For Fernanda Chiaparini, tennis isn’t just her first love in sport, the match becomes personal every time she walks onto the court with her doubles partner Fabiana – her sister. Tennis runs in the Chiaparini family – both parents played the sport, while the two daughters acted as ball-girls on the courts back home in Brazil.Yet at the age of nine, Fernanda decided it was time to try it out for herself. “Give me the racket, let me play now,” Chiaparini recalls telling her parents.

The rest, as they say, is history, as Chiaparini continued to play throughout her school career, ranking 12th in the national school championships in Brazil. The talented youngster then received a scholarship to Augusta State University in Georgia, USA, where she impressed for four years, winning the university’s Athlete of the Year award in the process.

Having qualified through a university ranking tournament, the Business Marketing student travelled to Kazan with her sister and two men, which together form the Brazilian tennis team. Having won their opening round fixture against Canada, the sisters then went down in straight sets to team USA.

Despite the loss, Chiaparini said playing at her first Universiade in Kazan was a “great experience”, especially when in partnership with her sibling. 

“There’s nothing better than playing with your sister on the court,” the Brazilian said. “Although she is better than me,” she laughs.

Brazilian tennis is on the rise, Fernanda claims, with top-ranked Brazilian Teliana Pereira just outside of the top-100 ranked women tennis players in the world at 111. “They are starting to take tennis more seriously now in Brazil,” Chiaparini says.

Chiaparini hopes to one day teach her children the sport she loves, and jokes that they too will be her ball-girls on the court, just as she was for her parents. And who knows, they might represent Brazil at a Universiade one day too.

Fabio De Dominicis/FISU Young Reporter (RSA)