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New Orleans Mother Daughter Team Wins Nationals - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mother Daughter Win National Title

Story Provided by Lori Ochsner

When they entered the National USTA Mother-Daughter tournament in Montgomery, Texas, in October, the last thing Elizabeth Brinson and her daughter Caroline thought was that they would go all the way. The New Orleans duo had never competed together. Brinson, 46, said she and her 16 year old were just testing the waters. Brinson explained, "We didn’t know how our games would match up with each other. We had no idea we could win it our first time around." But this unseeded team walked away with the prize, two gold balls and a National Title.

When even the world ranked Bryan Brothers admit to tension sometimes on the court, it was up to this first time mother-daughter team to keep it light. Caroline says their styles are quite different. She likes to talk and strategize. Her mom doesn’t say much on the court. But the advice mother did give to daughter could work for any doubles team.

"Before the tournament I told Caroline, ‘it is important for us both to remember that whether we win or lose, we are both going to put our best effort, mentally and physically, on the court today. That is all we can ask of each other.’ ”

The competition at this national level can be brutal. Only one time did Elizabeth Brinson admit she worried, "It was in the semi-finals when we were down 2-4 in the first set. Caroline walks over to me with a very serous look and vents, ‘I don’t like to lose.’ I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. Losing hadn’t crossed my mind yet, so I simply said, ‘Sometimes you have to figure people out before you start winning.’ After our short conversation, we went on a 9 game winning streak, and we clinched that match 6-4,6-1.”

Caroline remembers it this way, "Some of the funniest moments on the court was when Mom and I "high-fived” each other in between points to keep the positive energy going during matches. Mom would either give me the wrong hand or try to slap me with her racket. It definitely was challenging for us at the beginning, and it brought the smiles and laughter out. But by the finals, we had the "high-five” down.”

At a time when teenagers are touted as rebellious and surly, running from parents to exit the nest, Caroline Brinson breaks this stereotype. Anyone who plays with her knows Caroline is a genuine, charming young woman and certainly no pushover. She received her highest girls 16’s national ranking this year of #42. She reached a high of #8 in the South and #1 in Louisiana. She also won her first professional tennis match in the $10,000 WTA professional tournament held here in New Orleans this summer. She won two bronze balls this summer in tournaments but says nothing is like winning gold.

As for her mom, Elizabeth is a former University of Georgia #1 tennis player who played Team Tennis in Germany, along with some small professional tournaments in Europe. "Some of my fondest memories were competing in the US Open Qualifier in 1987, and competing in the first qualifier for the Olympics when tennis became an Olympic sport.”

So what’s the secret to making a good doubles team? Both say it’s respect. Elizabeth puts it this way, "When you spend so much of your time on and off the court competing and training, there is a seriousness and a respect you have for the game and for others who play the game at a similar level. I have that for Caroline and I think she has that for me. " She adds, "We still have our teenage-parent "moments” but for the most part our relationship is wonderful and very special." And, she smiles, "These memories will last a lifetime.”

It is a competitive relationship special enough to surprise both of them in a National Title the very first time out. Congratulations!



 

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