HAT Player Spotlight: Meet Anastasiya Papazian!
Here at HAT, we understand that the journey to greatness is a marathon, not a sprint. Everyone is on their own path. Anastasiya is a great example of not just the type of tennis player and competitor we aim to turn out, but also the type of person of character we strive to develop. Anastasiya has been training with us at HAT for about 3 years now, and while she still has a long way to go to reach her goals, we are very proud of the tremendous progress she has made in such a short amount of time. She came to us as a beginner, and now she is top 20 for her age division in the Intermountain section. Fresh off of her victory at the Level 5 MOJO tournament, we recently got a chance to sit down with her to ask her some questions - both as an opportunity for more people to get know her, and as a time for her to reflect on her experiences training at HAT thus far. Enjoy!
When did you start playing tennis? I started playing tennis when I was 9 years old and starting training at HAT almost 3 years ago.
What's your favorite part about training at HAT? Mazza. He is very kind and understanding, and his patience helps me a lot. I’ve had other coaches in other sports who would get mad and yell at the players, but Mazza is different. He can coach all day and never get angry. What are you tennis goals? I want to become a tennis pro. My mom and coach recognized early on that I have potential, and I’ve been training hard to achieve my dream. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and working hard.
What is your proudest moment on the court?
This just happened recently. I’ve been playing against fellow HAT player Remy for about a year and we’ve developed a friendly rivalry. Remy was winning every match, but I finally beat her 6-3 in a match this past weekend. It’s so exciting to see how far I’ve come! Another proud moment was at a tournament in Las Vegas this spring. I had a terrible sunburn, but still managed to beat my opponent. I surprised myself by how determined I was and how far I got in the tournament.
Best advice from a coach? Focus on technique over power. Strength will come as you get older, but having a solid technique will be a big plus in the future.
What advice would you give a new HAT player?
I would tell them the same thing - to focus on technique. And that hard work will get you far. What's your strongest tennis skill? I like the underhand forehand slice. I was nicknamed "Sushi Master" by the other HAT players because of how much l use it. I love that shot because it puts a spin on the ball and surprises the other player.
Favorite tennis player?
Federer and Osaka. I love their attitudes and that they always fight. They never give up when they are behind! What else do you like to do in your spare time?
I like watching tennis and seeing how the pros use their technique. And playing with my 3 year old little brother. He has a lot of energy so we like to play badminton in the backyard and other fun games.
If you played any other sport, what would it be? Volleyball. My friends at school say I have potential, but I don’t like any sport as much as I love tennis!