Passionate Prodigy's Pursuit

By Tina Torre


It seemed Ksenia Efremova had just learned to walk when people first noticed her athletic potential. Before the age of three, Ksenia was seen accurately throwing and hitting tennis balls while playing on the side of her brother’s practices. Her mother, Julia Efremova, former professional tennis player, was dumbfounded when she noticed Ksenia’s natural abilities and decided to have tennis play a bigger role in her daughter’s life.


Since the first sight of her passion for tennis, Ksenia has become a well-known, accomplished athlete at just 12 years old. She has been training at the esteemed Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, located in France, and founded by Serena Williams’ current coach Patrick Mouratoglou. Through her training at the academy, Ksenia has access to a tennis coach, fitness coach and medical team that serve as her own personal support system. Athletes at Mouratoglou’s academy are further prepared for the stress of intense competition by receiving debriefs of matches and tournaments.


“Ksenia was able accomplish what she sought thanks to the support that surrounded her...”

Along with being seen as a promising athlete who exhibits potential, Ksenia Efremova has been described as an agile, competitive, aggressive and well-rounded individual. The Efremova family attributes Ksenia’s success to the endurance and flexibility she has gained from playing several sports, such as dance, swim and gymnastics. In addition to physically improving as an athlete, Ksenia’s exposure to other activities prevented her passion for tennis from diminishing. This balance—the concept of being driven yet not letting her passion take over her life—serves as a key factor in Ksenia’s inspiring story.


“I think it was great that she didn’t solely focus on tennis and was exposed to other sports. It truly shows how deep of a passion she has for tennis despite her affinity for other athletic avenues,” senior Briana Dunn said.


Artwork by Shadia Zayer

Ksenia Efremova's passion for many sports motivates her to overcome adversity and excel in tennis.


Ksenia Efremova is on track to play juniors at the grand slams, has secured sponsorship deals with both Nike and Yonex and has tens of thousands of followers on Instagram. Ksenia faces immense pressure and has high expectations for herself. Although the idea of accepting and then moving on from failure is taught at the tennis academy she attends, Ksenia diligently works to deal with pressure and overcome adversity. The most significant example of Ksenia facing and rising above challenges was seen at the Tennis Europe Junior in Sweden, where she received news of her father’s death from lymphoma during the tournament. After hearing this news, Ksenia proceeded to compose herself and work towards putting her heart and soul into the match in honor of her father.


“To be able to achieve what she has achieved takes a life full of hard work and dedication, fueled by a work ethic that the best of men can only dream to possess,” junior Ethan Siegel said.


Along with her strength, work ethic, and fervor for the game of tennis, Ksenia was able accomplish what she sought thanks to the support that surrounded her. From her mother to coaches to fans, Ksenia embraces the pressures she encounters and uses the people in her life to lift her up.


This demonstrates that for many people success is attainable in both athletics and other pursuits by using one’s battle with adversity as a strength, instead of a weakness. In addition, achievements can be made by seeking support from important figures in one’s life.


In putting Ksenia’s story in retrospect, this idea encourages students at New Hyde Park to seek guidance from not only peers, but teachers, counselors, coaches, club advisers and other mentors. Students attending New Hyde Park are more than likely to find that they too can acquire their own support system, similar to Ksenia’s arsenal of fitness coaches, and achieve their own dreams.