BY SCOTT LANGDON VIA THE O.T.A
Cyprien Mboko didn’t play tennis, himself, but admired the sport and thought it would contribute to the physical fitness of his children. His four children have turned it into far more than a form of exercise. Now, 14-year-old Victoria is taking it even further.
Mboko and wife, Godee Kitadi, left political turmoil behind in their native Democratic Republic of the Congo and immigrated to North America with young children Gracia and Kevin. Kitadi moved to Montreal in 1999, nine months pregnant with third child, David, and eventually earned an accounting degree at the Universite de Montreal. In 2000, Cyprien moved to North Carolina where the family eventually settled in 2005 and started playing tennis.
“I have been watching tennis since I was very young. My friend and I, back home in the Congo, would watch Agassi, Courier, Graf and all the other great players,” Cyprien said. “Tennis was good exercise for our children, but I must have bought about 1000 balls from Walmart and they all seemed to end up in the bushes. At that point, we decided to see about some coaching. Gracia was identified by a local tennis pro and he used to take her from Charlotte, where we were living, to Concord every day for training. I would pick her up after work.”
The family moved to Toronto in 2006 with a fourth child, two-month-old Victoria, in tow. At this point the family’s journey took yet another turn and tennis played a key role.
“My kids started training at Players Edge at the Aviva Centre with Marc Assaraf and Bill Cowan. Then I met Pierre Lamarche who suggested we could move to Burlington to train at his academy, Ace Tennis. We moved there in 2010,” Kitadi told Ontennis Magazine.
All four of the Mboko children attended Ace Tennis. Gracia, the eldest and now 25 years old, earned a tennis scholarship at the University of Denver. Brother Kevin, now 23, earned a tennis scholarship at Edinboro University in northwestern Pennsylvania. David, now 22, was a “very talented” tennis player, but stopped due to eye problems. He will soon be graduating from the University of Toronto with a computer science degree.
And then there is 14-year-old Victoria, or Vicky, now taking the family’s tennis journey to even more places and perhaps higher heights.
For the full article by Scott Langdon, visit the OTA’s ONTENNIS
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