Cousins making their presence felt at Nationals

As of Thursday, December 22, 2022

#WHEN they are not playing each other or teaming up together in doubles, close cousins Saphire and Breann Ferguson are on the sidelines cheering for one another.

#The daughters of two brothers – Barron and Bjorn Ferguson – recalled how they got introduced to the sport of tennis by their grandfather Roscoe Ferguson, whom they call “pappa.”

#“At first I didn’t like it that much, but then I started to fall in love with it,” said Saphire, who was around seven years old when she touched the tennis racket for the first time at the National Tennis Centre.

#Saphire, the older of the two at 15, said they’ve had some hiccups playing the sport over the years, but now they are seeing some light through the tunnel, which is giving them some glimmer of hope to become the players their “pappa” envisioned.

#“It’s all about the progress,” said Saphire as they both made their debut in the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association’s 2022 Giorgio Baldacci Open Nationals at the National Tennis Centre.

#They both lost their first-round matches and were forced to play in the consolation round to determine their final standings.

#While Breann Ferguson, who will turn 15 on January 6, ended up in fourth place, Saphire Ferguson was fifth.

#With the open as a challenge for both players to improve their game, the junior national team players are eager to play in their own age group where they occasionally play against each other and as a team whenever doubles are scheduled.

#“Whenever we play each other and one wins over the other, we just hold it in. We probably won’t talk to each other for about five minutes,” Breann Ferguson said.

#“It’s not a competition against each other for us because we are trying to better each other.”

#As the elder of the two, Saphire Ferguson said the goal is to “push each other.”

#For Breann Ferguson, her progress has been steady. “I think it could always be better. You could always be improving, but up to this point, I feel very good about my progress,” said Breann Ferguson, a ninth grader at St John’s College.

#As they look ahead to the future, the Ferguson cousins said they would like to see not just one of them, but both of them be competing for the national title when they return home from college and before they pursue a professional career in the sport.

#“I would like to become a sports therapist,” said Saphire Ferguson, who admitted that because she’s been to one so much, she’s got accustomed to it, and she would certainly like to help others.

#After losing to collegian Elana Ferguson in the first round of the tournament, Saphire said she learned a valuable lesson.

#“You have to always focus on getting better because even when you think you’re good, there’s always someone out there that is at a different level, so you have to continue to train hard,” she stressed.

#“I just have to concentrate on playing my pressure points better.”

#None of them were under more pressure than Breann Ferguson, who had to take on the top seed and defending champion Sydney Clarke where she lost to the collegian in the second round after knocking off Calia Bowe in the first round.

#“Even though I didn’t win (against Clarke), I just wanted to play better in that match than I did in the first match (against Bowe). I just need to definitely use my footwork and be more consistent with my strokes.”

#Although they are pushed by their parents, the Ferguson cousins said “pappa” Ferguson takes the time out to work them out in doubles every chance he gets. Right now, they are making the best of every opportunity to get to improve their game.

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