Twelve-year-old Kimberly Garcia was so new to junior tournament play that when she participated in her first tournament this spring, she didn't understand the scoring.
"I started pretty rough," she says. "After my first match, the girl I was playing came over, shook my hand and said, &‘Congratulations.' I didn't know what was going on.
"Little by little I started getting it."
She got it so well that by the end of the Belvedere-Tiburon Tournament that attracted club players from throughout Marin County, the Petaluma girl had won three matches, accepted another win by forfeit from a girl who was too sun burned to continue and finished first in her division.
Although she has been playing tennis since she was 3 years old, it was quite an accomplishment for a young player who competes and practices on the cracked courts at McNear Park near her westside home.
Garcia's father, Alberto Garcia, a tennis enthusiast, got his daughter started in tennis, but it wasn't until she began playing with an informal group of mostly adults who gather at the courts at McNear Park that she really became enthused about the sport.
Garcia admits that at first she wasn't all that excited about the game.
"When I was about five, I wasn't much interested," she explains. "But once I started playing more and more, I started to get more interested. At first, I was playing mostly adults, but now I'm beginning to play more girls my own age.
"The next thing I knew, I got caught up in the game. Now, it is pretty much all I do."
Like most athletes, Garcia loves those moments when everything clicks. "When I'm in the zone, I love it, " she explains. "I just live in the moment."