Elana Zaretsky is fully dedicated to her tennis career

To reach monumental accomplishments in life, it takes a true commitment and tons of time put in, but for tennis player Elana Zaretsky, the incoming eighth-grader learned that years ago.

The Braintree resident who was introduced to the game at 4 years old has been going around the world playing the sport. At the age of 8, Zaretsky made the decision to go all in on the sport she loves. Currently, she attends ICL Academy, an online school for elite athletes. All so she can focus on training.

“I really don’t have much I really do besides tennis,” Zaretsky said when asked about her hobbies. “Basically just tennis.”

That dedication has allowed Zaretsky to become one of the best in the region. According to tennisrecruitingnetwork.net, she’s ranked No. 2 in the state and No. 34 nationally. In June she won the 14-and-under division of the New England Junior Tennis Championships. Zaretsky, who entered as the top seed, beat the top 32 players in the region.

Elana Zaretsky after winning 14 & under division of the New England Junior Tennis Championships

Elana Zaretsky after winning 14 & under division of the New England Junior Tennis Championships

Much like during the school year, this summer is filled with tennis, both practice and tournaments.

“During the school year I have like an online class, and then I would go to some kind of training for three hours a day and that’s pretty much it,” said Zaretsky. “Summer, I just train basically all day. We leave and don’t get back until six hours later. We drive all over the state, different places to train.”

Zaretsky’s name may be known in the youth tennis world, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a road block or two to this point. An elbow injury two years ago forced her to wear a sleeve and caused some setbacks. However, she was able to play through the pain despite not being her best. Last year, she suffered a foot stress fracture that put her in a boot and sidelined her from playing in nationals.

Elana Zaretsky showing her forehand

Elana Zaretsky showing her forehand

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Being away from the game that consumes most of her life was tough, but she learned a valuable lesson through it.

“I had to try really hard to not get down and feel like everyone else is moving ahead and (I) was just stuck,” Zaretsky said. “You have to be able to fight back and try to get yourself back to that level. So I’d say determination.”

Sponsorships from Adidas and Wilson help Zaretsky with shoes, rackets and balls. Zaretsky goes around the state to practice and play matches with other girls. She even heads to MIT a lot to play with some collegiate players.

“It’s really different to try to do this from New England where we play indoors. “We don’t have good public courts,” said Ariane Zaretsky. “There’s really not much recognition or support for tennis at all. Versus playing Florida or California, it’s really tough.”

Additionally, Zaretsky is backed by a strong support system in her parents and coaches who stand by her and cheer her on as she goes to different states for the sport. As her mother, Ariane, sees it, the sport of tennis doesn’t get as much love in Massachusetts in terms of resources as the other clubs they attend.

Elana Zaretsky

Elana Zaretsky

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With the support of her online school, coaches and parents, the sky appears to be the limit for Zaretsky. She considers playing at a Division I college one of her “lower goals.”  She knows exactly where she wants to be, and she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to get her there.

“I would say I want to go pro if I can,” said Elana Zaretsky. “I would re-class so I can get an extra year to play around the world so I can get points so I can get in the Junior US Open, international rankings and all that.”

This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Braintree tennis phenom Elana Zaretsky knows exactly what she wants

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