LOS ANGELES AFB, Calif --
1st Lt. Christine Martinez, a project officer in the Space and Missile Systems Center’s MILSATCOM Directorate’s Strategic Branch and a tennis player, joined other teammates who converged on the Italian city of Decimomannu Sardinia for the Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein Inter-Nation Tennis Championships Sept. 19-23, hosted by the German Air Force’s Tactical Training Center.
With her dad as coach, Martinez has been playing the sport since she was a little girl.
“Tennis has been a part of my life since as far back as I can remember,” said Martinez.
She enjoyed it so much, she continued to play Division 1 tennis while attending the Air Force Academy.
Every two years, the Air Force opens up a small window of time for prospective tennis players to send in their resume. So when the chance to compete with world-class players came around, Martinez jumped at the opportunity.
While the Air Force was searching for the “best of the best,” the Inter-Nation Tennis Championship invited players from other countries’ military forces to also “send us your best.”
The Headquarters Allied Air Command Inter-Nation Sports Program brings together the contributing nations within the Allied Air Component Command Headquarters Ramstein’s traditional area of responsibility in an atmosphere of friendly sporting competition. The events that make up this competition reinforce the mutual respect and goodwill that exists between North Atlantic Treaty Organization nations.
The competition is fierce, but Martinez made the cut. One week prior to the actual start of the competition, she was selected.
“There are challenges,” Martinez said. “These are not the challenges that you would face every day. You have to be ready, get used to being with a new tennis partner, being in a new location, all while training and preparing for the competition.”
The team competed against top players from four other international air forces: The German Air Force, the Royal Netherlands Air Force, the Polish Air Force and the United States Air Forces in Europe team.
When asked about how much time they had to practice, Martinez stated, “We didn’t get to practice as much as we wanted, but we were determined to come back with top honors.”
And that is exactly what they did. It was “Game, Set, Match” for Martinez and her five teammates. The Air Force women’s team took top honors, placing first at the 2016 HQ AirCom Tennis Championship.
The effort shown by the team during this year’s competition was no less than stellar. When asked what she attributed to her win, Martinez replied, “It wasn’t about me. The team worked hard, worked together, and we were determined to win.”