By J. Fred Sidhu, speical to USTA.com
Indian Wells, Calif. – With smiles stretching from the East Coast to the West Coast, the McGill family from Florida is enjoying their time at the 2010 USTA League 5.0 Adult National Championships.
Twenty-seven-year-old Natalie McGill Paiva and her 30-year-old brother Ryan McGill are representing their respective USTA Florida Section teams at the Nationals, which are being contested at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
The trip to California is extra special for Natalie and Ryan as their mother Sherry also made the trip from Satellite Beach, Florida to cheer them on.
Natalie and Ryan, who have two older brothers, began playing tennis when they were young kids. "Anything he did, I wanted to try and do it better, said Natalie. "We’re very competitive."
Both Natalie and Ryan attended the University of Florida where they played club tennis. Natalie, a Tampa resident also played two years of intercollegiate soccer.
While Natalie and Ryan are competitive, they also support each other on the tennis court. "We’re each others biggest cheerleader," said Natalie.
Earlier this year at the USTA Florida Sectionals in Daytona, Ryan’s team had already clinched their trip to the Nationals, but the women’s team match came down Natalie’s last singles match.
"My team needed me to win and he was there cheering for me," Natalie said. "It was just so great to have his support. When we won, he was so proud of me."
Natalie’s victory was significant because it meant she would be joining her brother in Indian Wells for the USTA League Nationals. Ryan is making his fourth appearance in the USTA League Nationals, while Natalie is playing in her first National.
With his experience playing in USTA League Nationals, Ryan had some tips for his younger sister. "I just told her, ‘Everyone is good, so nothing is going to come easy. Grind it out and put one more ball back in the court.’"
When asked how it felt to have his mother here to watch him and Natalie play, Ryan said, "It’s good to have her here. She’s had to bear a lot with us growing up and carting us off to Orlando for clinics after school. She’s a proud mama right now."
The McGill’s received some good news upon arriving to Indian Wells as they found out that the Florida men’s and women’s teams will be playing at different times which means that Natalie and Ryan will be able to support each other during their matches.
"Being at Nationals is so special. My mom is so thrilled that we’re at 5.0 Nationals because it’s such a high level," Natalie said.
For mother Sherry, the trip to Nationals has special meaning. She spoke about taking Ryan and Natalie to lessons, clinics and tournaments when they were kids. Now, she gets to watch them play at the Nationals.
"It’s wonderful. I’m very proud," said Sherry. "It’s very exciting. It’s a lot of hard work for me and them to get this far in the game."
Before coming to Indian Wells, Sherry joked with friends in Florida. "I just say to people, ‘Oh no, I can’t play (tennis) next week, I’m going to be in California because Ryan and Natalie are in Nationals.’"