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Karen Bertini & the Value of Teamwork

09/16/2015, 6:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

Learn more about the tennis community at NSWC


Full disclosure: when I first met with Karen, all she wanted to talk about was everyone else in the NSWC’s tennis community. But you know what? That’s a lot of people. We’ll try our best, but please forgive if your name isn’t mentioned. 

Because really, it’s about the team, right Karen?

Kelvin: Tennis is pretty serious for you these days, was it always like that?

Karen: A few years back I didn’t know anything about tennis. Another Karen asked me if I wanted to play. So I started in the Monday night beginner group, beginner doubles. I had JJ Mahoney, Paul Shellard for coaches, Jane Hernandez. We stared going every Monday night for two hours. We started our own team and we played days, we were called the Divas. We started league play the next year and lost by one point, if we had one more point we would have moved up to DIV 4. 

These days I'm enjoying watching others who are getting into tennis and experiencing success. Last season we had 9 league teams. Our div 4 night team and div 2 night teams won their divisions, as well as our div 2 day team, so they’ll get promoted.

A couple weeks ago the Summer Smash was held. That’s a great time to get too know other tennis players. How does the social aspect of tennis play into things?

It’s encouraging. When we started the Divas we had ten ladies and we actually got to travel as a team. We went to Arizona to play tennis, we did trips to Whistler, we had parties, birthdays, lots of get-togethers. We were known around the club for fun.

And how much does the disparity in skill matter when you’re having that much fun?

There was a big division of skill in our group, so at that point the girls who were much better went back to days and are moving up and doing really well. Some of us stayed nights, and now we’ve actually won div 4 twice. We worked hard to win our division that year with a winning average of 87.5%, which is amazing. Usually you only need 65 or so to win and we demolished that. And then they relegated us down after being at the top for two years in a row. 

So people go their separate ways. It’s become much more than just playing tennis, we have a couple who can’t play any more but we’re all still friends. What started with tennis has become so much more, but the tennis and working and getting better is still our focus. Always. Theresa, Diana, Megan, Laura, four of our divas are now in div 1 league play which is huge, so it’s nice to see each individual take their own path.

What do you get out of tennis? Why do you play?

I think about tennis all the time. I like the women here, since Fabio’s come it’s been awesome, what he’s done here has been amazing as far as the level of instruction, the organizational part, the camaraderie. The last two years we only had two men’s teams and now we have four, the guys are really getting into tennis. They do social things together just like we do. A bunch of ladies, their husbands are playing now, a bunch of us are going to Kelowna for the Kelowna Open. A group of 16 of us. So I play because of the greater community, it’s something I love contributing to. 

I’ve been on the tennis committee for eight years, I’ve done every position, right now I’m the tournament chair, I do all the nets and tournaments along with Fabio. 

As a club we’ve gone to Palm Springs, Mazatlan as a North Shore Winter Club group, I’ve been to the US open a couple times with a few friends from here. Some other girls just went to Barcelona to watch tennis there too. 

We travel together, party together. It’s a big family, inside and outside the club. 


How does Karen Bertini prepare for important matches?

1. Full Day Prep

Healthy breakfast and a light trail run

2. Pregame Meal

Pasta and chicken, something healthy, salad, proper meals

3. Touch Base With Partner

Talk strategy and opponent

4. Pregame Trip

Drive with partner whenever a trip is involved




photo credit: Melzer & Petzschner via photopin (license)

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