Teen Loses State Tennis Final After Quitting Match
The New Hampshire girls tennis singles final ended prematurely on Tuesday when one of the players walked off the court after being heckled by the crowd.
Bow High School senior Sunday Swett was already one set up when her opponent Briana Leonard from Bishop Guertin, a college preparatory private Roman Catholic high school in Nashua, New Hampshire, chose to end the match.
The forfeit occurred when officials attempted to move the final at the end of the first set to a different court due to the failing light.
Instead of heading to the new court, Leonard left with her parents and drove home.
‘This has been going on for the last two years,’ Kristen Leonard told the Nashua Telegraph.
‘This is an 18-year-old girl who fell and got hurt and people are cheering. They were bullying her. This has been going on for two years. They’ve wanted her out for two years because she’s not a New Hampshire girl. Because we live in Massachusetts.’
Her coach, Barry Ndynia, acknowledged that she had had to endure a hostile crowd, but said such challenges were often an integral part of sports.
They thought the crowd was over the top, cheering for their daughter’s faults and things like that,' he said.
‘In sports that’s something you have to deal with. Some people will not cheer for you. They’ll cheer for your opponent. That’s why I was trying to keep her focused.'
Briana, who until Tuesday had not lost a match all season, was also docked a point before the match began because she was late getting to the court.
Her father, Tim, had been told to leave the premises after discussing the sanction with officials, according to the New Hampshire Union Leader.
It took a moment for Sunday to realize she had won. 'I thought it was a bathroom break and when everyone started cheering I thought it was more like, "First Set! Keep it going!" And I was kind of like, thank you, but I’ve got to stay focused here,' Sunday told Gazettenet.com.
'But [Briana] just picked up her stuff and left.'
Sunday added: 'It was her choice. I’m not going to let it dampen my happiness.'
New Hampshire Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Director R. Patrick Corbin described the situation as ‘an unfortunate experience.’
‘I’ve never seen something like this at a tennis match,’ he told the Telegraph.
As for Sunday, she said the manner of her victory didn’t spoil the achievement for her as it was the first time she had beaten Briana.
'I’ve played her before [including a 6-0, 6-1 loss to Briana in the 2012 quarterfinals], and, not to be mean, but I know she has an attitude, and I was ready to put up with it. But this brought it to a whole new level,’ she told the Concord Monitor.
Bow coach Jonsey Rainville was also proud of Sunday's achievement. She said: 'Her goal from Day One was to win it, the goal of the whole team was for her to win it. I'm so proud of her. She deserves it. She's a fabulous tennis player and an even better kid.'
She added: 'They're both extremely talented tennis players. I wish it could have gone the extra set. I think the result would have been the same. Sunday was the better player out there today.'