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OXFORD, Miss. — As a very young girl, I announced to my Mom that I wanted to play tennis. Lessons were, of course, in order, and there were no two better people in town to teach than Gay Pitts Galbreath and Rachel Paris Causey. Rachel, incidentally, played right here at Ole Miss.
I won’t drag this article out with all the details, but by the end of that first summer week, it was quite clear that tennis was not my forte.
With Mother’s Day upon us, I asked members of the Ole Miss Women’s Tennis team to share some comments about their own moms and what they mean to them.
My mom’s kisses and hugs used to heal my scrapes and scars. Now I realize they were also shaping my heart.
Eesha, a sophomore from Germantown, Tenn. who is majoring in biology, is the daughter of Radhika and Kumar Gudiseva.
She was named to the SEC First Year Player Honor Roll for 2021.
“From driving me to tennis tournaments every weekend and all the early mornings you have always been there for me. Thank you for always encouraging me to do my best, and constantly supporting me in all I do. I am thankful and grateful to have you as my mom. “
Lillian, a senior political science major from Oslo, Norway, is the daughter of Ragnvald and Tricia Gabrielson.
She was named an ITA Scholar Athlete in 2021 and also earned a spot on the SEC First Year Player Honor Roll for 2021.
“My mom has always been there for me on and off the tennis court. She is my biggest supporter and I love her so much!“
Sabina, a senior chemistry major from Zlin, Czechia, is the daughter of Monika Machalova. She is a four-year letterman who earned All-SEC and All Freshman Team honors after the 2017-18 season, en route to helping the Rebels to their first 20-win season since 1999 and a berth in the Sweet 16.
As a senior in 20-21, Sabina was named to the All-SEC First Team. She was named to the SEC All Academic Honor Roll four times.
“My mom means a world to me. She always supported me, pushed me to my limits and never let me to give up on myself or on my dreams. I’ll always be grateful for my mom and can’t imagine where I would be without her watching over me and loving me.”
Ludmila, a freshman from Liberec, Czechia, is the daughter of Lucie Kareisova and Martin Kareis.
In the fall of 2021, Ludmila earned a 9-5 record in doubles, leading the Rebels in doubles victories. She was the ITA Southern Championships doubles runner-up alongside teammate Kelsey Mize.
“My mom. A person who’s always had my back, supported me throughout my entire life and made me believe that I can do anything I want in my life. I hope that one day I can inspire someone just as she has inspired me all these years. Love you, mom!“
Reka, a sophomore hospitality management major from Szeged, Hungary, is the daughter of Eva Mezo and Janos Zadori.
In the 2020-21 season, she was voted SEC Freshman of the Week three times, tying for the most Freshman of the Week honors in the league. In the fall of 2021, she reached the singles quarterfinals of the ITA Southern Championships.
“I am really thankful for my mom. She has been always by my side. I would not be here at Ole Miss without her.“
Rachel, a freshman political science major, from Milton, Ontario Canada, is the daughter of Susan Kitamura and Roberty Krzyzak.
Prior to Ole Miss, Rachel was ranked No. 1 in Canada at the U12 and U14 levels and top-three at the U16 level. She won the J5 David Trading Junior ITF Indoor Championships in 2017, and reached the quarterfinals of the J4 North Vancouver ITF event in 2019.
In the fall of 2021 at Ole Miss, she won four of her final five doubles matches.
“My mom is such a special person to me. She has always supported me and has stuck by my side through the ups and downs. She constantly pushes me to be the best I can be and I’m very grateful to have her.“
Kendall, a graduate of Ole Miss, is now working on her master’s degree at the university. She is the manager of the Ole Miss Women’s Tennis team. Her mother, Rachel Paris Causey, played tennis for Ole Miss.
Here’s what Kendall has to say about her mom:
“As a first year Graduate Student, Ole Miss Women’s Tennis Manager, and former Ole Miss Club Tennis President, my whole life has consisted of tennis in some type of fashion since I picked up a racket at age four. My mom played tennis at Ole Miss in the 80s while earning her marketing degree and taught me in the “Pee wee tennis” classes as a young child. She then moved to Jackson, MS and became the Jackson Prep Head Tennis Coach for 15 years. She coached me, along with my two older sisters and younger brother.
“We have all had an amazing experience having her as our high school coach. She has taught me so much – on and off the court. She has recently retired from the role and is now moving to Oxford to work for Fellowship of Christian Athletes here at Ole Miss starting in August. I’m excited to have her in my city for my second year of grad school, and I know she’ll thrive in her new job!
“She has supported me through every single tennis match whether it was high school, USTA Juniors, or Club Tennis. But more importantly, she has gotten me to where I am today and she has shown me what it truly means to love and serve our God. I’ve grown in my spiritual life because of her, and I’ll always be grateful for that. I don’t think anyone has impacted my life as much as she has. And when I grow up, I hope I’m half the woman she is! Thanks for being you, mom. I couldn’t ask for a better mother.”
Patti Parks Rooney is just past the age of fifty, hails from the Mississippi Delta and likes, in no particular order: a tin roof, Taylor Swift, George Strait, Lana Del Ray and Miles Davis, Diet Chick-fil-A Lemonade and Coke Zero, writing poetry, gardening, her godchild, shoes, history, Kimi Raikonnen and Formula One racing, art, beaches, really good pinot noir, the number sixteen, Yellowstone, Ozark and Arrested Development, friends that can utilize a grill, trips that require air travel, bond fires in summer or fall, and, of course, The Grove and Ole Miss football.
You will not find a ‘Live, Laugh and Love’ sign in her home. She says it’s nothing personal. You will, however, find the tv on the SEC channel most all times.
She currently resides in Oxford, is mom to Hollywood, her cat of 15 years, and works in the mental health field.
PS – She understands you can never underestimate the significance of Bill Walsh’s West Coast offense in professional football.