La Chica Miami of the week is a professional tennis player turned coach. Her name is Milangela Morales, 30. The right-handed player said she has lived her dream, and is now a tennis pro instructor at Fisher Island Tennis Club.
“I love what I do, and where I work. I feel blessed to call the tennis court my everyday office,” said Milangela.
The tall Venezuelan was born in Caracas. While at Miami Sunset Senior High, she won four consecutive state championships, and earned several MVP of the year awards. She was also ranked number one in Florida in her division and number 2 in the nation.
After graduating in 2000, the nationally ranked superstar turned down scholarships from UCLA, UGA, and Stanford. Her dream was tournament tennis.
“I had no idea what it [the rigors of the USTA Pro Circuit] was like and all the sacrifices you have to make and how hard it is on your body and mentally. It's very tough," she said in an interview with the Morning Call newspaper in 2002.
And after two clay-court victories against world-class Amanda Coetzer, she said, “If I can beat someone in the top 20, I can beat anybody."
Her sacrifice and optimism have paid off. Milangela reached the top 350 in singles in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) pro tour.
We asked her to fill in the blanks:
My favorite best kept secret of Miami is … Happy Wines. I just found out about it, and I have lived here for so long. I love it. You can escape and have amazing tapas and the best wines while being serenaded at the same time... and the best part is the cheap tab at the end.
My favorite museum in Miami is ... The Miami Art Museum.
My favorite beach is … anywhere north of Collins near 85th and 94th St., and Nikki Beach.
My favorite restaurants are … It’s always a great experience to dine at Zuma. Soya E Pomodoro has the best pasta in Miami. I’m always so happy to eat there. It’s always perfect. The place is so different, and has a very low key bohemian atmosphere. Moonchine has the best tuna tartar and best service and a great atmosphere. And Capital Grill, Cioppino in the Ritz Carlton hotel in Key Biscayne.
My favorite coffee place is … Starbucks or any Cuban coffee hole in the wall like David's Cafe on Lincoln Road for good Cortaditos.
My Favorite salon is … MakeOver House in South Miami.
When I’m in the mood for retail therapy, I must visit … Nike, Ralph Lauren, Zara, all of the shops on Collins Avenue, and Aventura Mall.
My favorite annual Miami event is …The Sony Ericsson Open.
My favorite local star is … Gloria Estefan and Shakira.