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Jeff and Youseff
How old were you when you started to play tennis, when did you join the Academy?
started around age 8, joined the Academy in 2015 at around the same time
What is next for you?
I will be headed to Indiana to attend Valparaiso University and compete in the Missouri Valley Conference in NCAA Div. 1
Please share your academic or tennis related awards or achievements with us.
My favourite tennis achievements include winning my first ITF singles and double titles and ranking top 600 in the world under junior rankings.
How old you were when you started to take tennis seriously, what or who inspired or motivated you to do so?
When I first started playing tennis at 8 years old I knew it was going to be a big part of my life. It wasn't until 6th grade when I was made fun of for always skipping class to attend a "silly sport" that I knew I had to prove my classmates wrong. The jealousy they portrayed fuelled my determination and motivation to achieve my dreams.
What was your biggest challenge in obtaining your tennis goals?
My biggest challenge in obtaining my tennis goals was my lack of identity and understanding my own uniqueness. This long and adventurous journey has taught me so much about not only myself, but many others.
Please share your fondest memories from your training or competition with Aforza?
I am so grateful to have so many amazing memories while training at Aforza. I had a blast on the ITF trips to Vancouver/ Victoria and Costa Rica! My time at Aforza after the pandemic when the bubble was taken down that summer have memories that will last forever. My ambition to play tennis after lockdown and gratitude to grind under the shade of the trees while in the months of May and June when the pollen was blowing was epic! The session were competitive and intense!
Other comments or memories you’d like to share.
The coaches at Aforza really helped shape a positive experience for me during my tennis journey. My teammates at Aforza are some of my closest friends and I'm so glad that I was surround by some really amazing people.
Do you have any advice for other young players?
The advice I would give for the current Academy players would be to never stop believing in yourself because other competitors are gonna be the last to believe in you. Listen to your parents, they are the only people that truly want to see you succeed. Don't be afraid to be different. Learn to be the leader and others will follow. Embrace uniqueness and individuality.