I was only six years old when I saw Wimbledon on TV for the first time. I remember telling my father “I am going play there one day!” A few years later, my dream came true; I played my first professional tournament at the age of 14. My debut was in San Diego, California. From there, I competed on the Women’s Tennis Association Tour for thirteen years, represented Mexico in the Barcelona and Atlanta Olympics and became the best player in the history of Mexico.

I grew up in Tijuana and I remember spending my days as a child at Club Britania and Club Campestre where my parents would play tennis. My mom was the one who first taught me and I immediately fell in love with the sport. By the age of 8, I competed in my first international tournament where I lost in the finals to Monica Seles and won the doubles with her as my partner.

When I was 12 years old, my family moved to San Diego so my brother, sister and I could compete in Southern California tournaments. Our weekends were spent playing tennis at Hotel Del Coronado or travelling as a family to local tournaments. Through hard work, I achieved the rank of number one in Southern California and top three in the nation. I attended high school at Academy of Our Lady of Peace won CIF as a freshmen and sophomore. I was 16 when I made it to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open and decided to turn pro.

After I retired from tennis, I always somehow stayed involved in tennis, through sports television, clinics and exhibitions matches. It was this love of the sport that lead me to open my own tennis program in Coronado in 2002.

Tennis has always been a big part of my life. I trained for six hours every day, watched what I ate, paid close attention to how I fueled my body and eventually this came to consume my every thought. I was surrounded by the best coaches, trainers, nutritionists, sports psychologists and athletes in the world. AND HERE IS THE STRANGE PART: It made me obsessed with food.

After I retired from the tour, I had no clue how to be healthy. I became obsessed with my weight and worried since I was not exercising like I used to. I often had difficult episodes of emotional eating. After many years of struggling, I came to a point of being aware that being healthy is far more important than a number on the scale. The biggest reason I was able to get to this point was that I became a mom. We hear it all the time, being a mom changes your life but it was not until I became one myself that I knew what it really meant. I became aware of how important it is to take care of yourself and set an example for the people in your life; for me, that was my son.

Now I love being active and leading a healthy lifestyle.

My goal is to help others become passionate about leading a healthier lifestyle by sharing my own experiences as well as what people in San Diego do to stay fit. I hope I can inspire you to do the same as I share stories with you here in Giving Back Magazine every other month as the Contributing Health Editor.


Angelica Gavaldon