Home News Local sports ISLAND TENNIS TRAINING PAYS OFF IN CALIFORNIA

ISLAND TENNIS TRAINING PAYS OFF IN CALIFORNIA

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March 4, 2002 – High among the things Lisa Galiber enjoyed doing while growing up on St. Croix was playing tennis. It's a sport in which she's now a force to be reckoned with in U.S. Tennis Association competition in Southern California.
Lisa Marie Galiber-Forgeron lives now in Murrieta Hot Springs, Calif., about an hour's drive north of San Diego. There, she and her partner, Antoinette "Toni" Kramer, recently had an undefeated USTA doubles season, then went on to win a pivotal match in a third-set tiebreaker at the UCLA State Finals.
And their 4.0 Ladies Doubles team placed second in Southern California.
And, as captain of her USTA 4.0 Mixed Doubles team, Galiber-Forgeron led the team to an undefeated season and a trip to the Southern California Sectionals later this spring.
And she'll be captaining her 4.0 Ladies Doubles Team in defense of its league championship.
The daughter of Edith Rose Galiber and the late Andre A. Galiber Sr. learned the game from her dad. She recalls many a weekend "spent playing at the old Questa Verde Tennis Club and competing against other islands in matches as juniors."
As a youngster, she mainly played singles. Her first doubles partner "was my sister Cecile. We were awesome!"
Her sister — now Cecile de Jongh — "has recently taken up the sport again, and we all try to play when we reunite," Galiber-Forgeron says. "There are good rumors of a Galiber Tennis Tournament being revived. My dad used to host one at the Buccaneer on New Year's Day. It was hard to party hardy when one had a tournament on New Year's Day. My dad was a very smart man!"
One year, she even won the mixed doubles competition.
The last time she visited St. Croix, "my father was still alive and was able to watch me play in a Bar Association mixed doubles tourney at the Buccaneer Hotel. He and my mom were my biggest fans!" They had plenty to cheer about: "My partner and I won the tournament 6-Love, 6-Love."
Galiber-Forgeron says she never really got excited about doubles competition until she and her partner made it to the finals in a St. Croix Women's Coalition tournament. Soon after, she moved to Atlanta, where she became a member of a tennis team that went to the city finals in 1995 — "and we won!"
On the 10-person team of five doubles, "I always played position No. 1," she says. In 1996, her team reached the Atlanta finals again, "but we lost all three setters."
The following year, on the day she was to leave Atlanta to drive cross-country to California, she played first in a USTA doubles competition on a team consisting of two singles and three doubles. It was "the city finals, which were held at the Atlanta Olympic Stadium in Stone Mountain, where Lindsay Davenport won Olympic Gold that year," she says, "and we swept the whole thing! We were city champions!"
In California, she lived for a while in San Diego, where she played a lot of tennis. "Different neigborhoods, clubs, parks compete against each other, much like Atlanta," she said. "It's a great way to make instant friends, network and stay in shape!"
Today, home is Murrieta Hot Springs, "where Lindsay Davenport moved to attend Murrieta Valley High School, and where I often substitute teach."
When she's not on the court, Galiber-Forgeron is in the classroom, working as a certified substitute teacher for kindergarten through 12th grade and special education in two school districts. "I like to give the kids tennis lessons during recess," she says, "and often draw hearts on old tennis balls, which I gift to them at the end of the day!"
The first week of August each year, she and her family attend the top-draw tennis tournament at La Costa Resort in nearby Carlsbad, Calif. "Our seats are right next to where the families of the women in pro tennis sit," she says. So she gets to chat with with Venus and Serena Williams' father, Richard, as well as the superstar tennis sisters, their family and friends. "And Alexandra Stevenson's mom and hitting partners think our seats are good luck. And I chatted with Mr. Capriati [Jennifer's father and coach, Stefano Capriati] last year while watching his daughter tear up the courts."
Galiber-Forgeron says it turns out that a Virgin Islands connection has been important to Capriati's career. The top-ranked women's tennis star "had a hitting partner who grew up on St. Croix," she explains. "Family friend Richard Ashby traveled with Jen for eight years during her early career, Mr. Capriati told me."

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