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Sports

Girl Links Up With Top Tennis Coach

Rebecca Link got an expenses trip to Florida for her 12th birthday. Marvin Tyler, who coaches Rebecca at Slammer Tennis World, called Link's family and informed them the girl had won a one-week scholarship to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy. "It was like they won the lotto,'' Marvin says.

Link, who will be seventh grade student at Ponus Ridge, was selected for the scholarship by the New England Tennis Association. Tyler recommended Link based on her tennis commitment and her community service. Rebecca helps her Girl Scout trip make pillows for Norwalk Hospital, baby sits for neighbors and volunteers to help younger players at Tyler's tennis facility. "I thought she'd be a good candidate for the scholarship and would be a good representative for Connecticut,'' Marvin says.

Rebecca is still deciding when she will attend the camp in Bradenton, Fla. Bollettieri has trained legendary tennis players such as Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova and Jim Courier.

Link joined Slammer Tennis World when she was seven and trains during the winter in the gymnasium at Ben Franklin School. She won her first USTA match in dramatic fashion earlier this month, taking a three-setter by rallying from 6-3 down in the tiebreaker to win, 10-8. "I just love the sport,'' Rebecca says. "You can do it with friends, and I like hitting the ball."

The trip includes room, board, air fare and instruction from one of the top teaching programs in the U.S. "It's the opportunity of a lifetime,'' Marvin says. "Most kids don't get an opportunity like this. She'll get some insight on what it takes to be a great tennis player."

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