Women’s Tennis: Raquel Castro leads UNF to highest ranked doubles team in school history

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Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Anna Kournikova are all well-known tennis players who have worked hard at making their names heard in the tennis world, and Osprey Raquel Castro is making a name for herself on the tennis courts this season.

Alongside her doubles partner sophomore Aline Berkenbrock, Castro is ranked 47th in the NCAA Division I women’s tennis preseason rankings posted by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. This is the highest ranking a UNF women’s tennis team or individual has achieved since the move to Division I.

“I’m proud to represent my country. When people ask me where I’m from, I’m excited to say that I’m from the Dominican Republic,” Castro said. “I practice really hard and put my heart into it, and it’s been paying off. We put everything on the court.”

Castro has been playing tennis since the age of 3 and competing since age 8. As the youngest child, she inherited the tennis gene growing up since her entire family plays tennis. Even her brother plays up state, she said.

Now as the only senior and the oldest member on the UNF women’s tennis team, Castro sees herself as a role model to the other members of the team.

“Sometimes they follow me and learn from me, so I make sure I’m a good example to the rest of the team,” Castro said.

Following behind Castro, her partner Berkenbrock said she’s a really hard worker. She has been involved in all kinds of sports growing up, including volleyball, and she fell into tennis. Berkenbrock has been playing since she was 8 years old.

Now both Castro and Berkenbrock are reaching new heights as they compete for UNF on the Division I level, but both said a big part of their success is being supportive of each other and their fellow teammates.

Last season Castro and Berkenbrock were the No. 1 team for UNF with a record of 17-4. They defeated Florida International’s No. 30-ranked duo Maria Pazo and Mariana Muci and the University of Central Florida’s No. 59-ranked Jenny Frisell and Elvira Serrot.

They are the only pair ranked from the Atlantic Sun Conference and are one of only eight teams ranked in the Southeast region.

According to the UNF women’s tennis Head Coach Rodriguo Pubela, both Castro and Berkenbrock are extremely hardworking players in a year-round sport.

“I’m proud of the way these girls have played,” he said. “They have put their hearts on the court during practice and in the games.”

The Ospreys’ next match will take place Oct. 9 to Oct. 11 at the UNF Fall Invitational, and then the team will travel to Atlanta Oct. 23-26 for the ITA Regional Tournament.