Since she was 8 years old, Beatriz has been rooting for tennis hero Roger Federer. She cheers from her living room in Brazil – and later Maryland – whenever he takes the court.
A very active player herself, her entire world changed with she found a lump in her neck, and the diagnosis came back. Cancer. Following surgery, chemotherapy treatments and a debilitating lung infection, Beatriz was declared in remission.
During a break from practice, Beatriz and her high school tennis team watched a video message from Federer himself asking Beatriz to join him on the courts of Wimbledon. She couldn’t believe it. “He knows my name. He knows my name,” was all she could muster after being addressed by her tennis idol.
Three days later, after the reality of her wish sunk in, Beatriz and her family boarded a plane to London. While there, they rode a double-decker bus, visited Big Ben and, of course, cheered Federer on at a match.
Later, dressed in Wimbledon white, Beatriz joined Federer on the practice court. Before long, she was in the swing of things, returning his volleys and iconic, crushing serves. After practice, Federer signed a ball for her to take home and told her she could ask him anything. Her question: “Why did you cut your hair?”
The pair met up one more time before Beatriz returned to the U.S. This encounter was particularly memorable because it fell on Beatriz’s 18th birthday. Federer gave her a cake and signed a birthday note to celebrate the occasion.
Beatriz’s wish was part of the 2013 “My Wish” series on ESPN’s SportsCenter.