| By Esu Ma'at

Fabulous footwork ... raw athleticism ... fierce competitiveness—these are just a few of the ways to describe 10-year-old tennis player Nia Cardoze of Brooklyn, who participated in the Kings County Tennis League Play Day. At the event, Nia lost a close, gut-wrenching match to an equally gifted 14-year-old boy who also stars on his basketball team. But the extraordinary poise and grace she exhibited against a tough opponent and amid the pressure of a sizeable crowd of raucous spectators, showed that Nia was not only talented; she was special. Inspired by her performance, I asked her father if I could spend a few minutes interviewing his precious prodigy. He happily obliged.

How long have you been playing tennis?
Nia Cardoze: Three-and-a-half-years.

What do you like most about tennis?
Nia Cardoze: It’s fun, I get to play with my friends in the neighborhood and it can help me go to college.

What's the best part about being in the Marcy Tennis Club?
Nia Cardoze:
It represent where I'm from and it helps Marcy [Houses] come together.

Who are your favorite tennis players?
Nia Cardoze:
The Williams Sisters.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Nia Cardoze:
A tennis player.

Nia is a fifth grader at Beginning With Children Charter School. Her parents are Omar Cardoze and Kerean Farrow. She is also a United States Tennis Association member who won her first 10 & Under tournament earlier this summer.