Ksenia Efremova, a 12-year-old Russian tennis prodigy, is turning heads the world over.
Attending the prestigious Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France and studying under the tutelage of Patrick Mouratoglou — who also coaches the great Serena Williams — Ksenia says she wants to become a legend of the sport, and her instructors think she has the potential to do just that.
Tennis Prodigy Stuns Sports World
According to her mother Julia, Ksenia’s tennis career began almost 10 years ago when she wandered onto the court while her older brother was practicing.
“She started to throw the balls to herself,” said Julia, herself a retired professional tennis star.
“I looked at it and I was amazed because all the balls were flying over the net and she did the motions perfectly,” her mom continued. “I said to myself that was the time to work with her because she had so much passion and she wanted it.”
Now, a decade later, Ksenia enjoys semi-professional status and a growing public profile. The young athlete has amassed more than 35,000 followers on her Instagram page, and has ongoing sponsorship deals with Nike and tennis brand Yonex.
Most impressively, Ksenia is holding her own at Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, where only the cream of the crop are selected to hone their craft with the worldwide tennis elite.
“Ksenia has incredible potential, I think she has the full package,” said her coach Patrick Mouratoglou. “She’s an incredible athlete. I mean, if you look at her social media, you’ll see her. She can do the full splits, she can dance, she can do all kinds of stuff besides tennis.”
Julia said her daughter played all types of children’s sports before getting serious about a career on the court. Not only did the experience make Ksenia a well-rounded athlete, her mom believes, it also kept her from burning out.
“I want to help parents all over the world who have a dream to build a professional tennis player from their kids, because when they’re small and at that age and they have this fire in their eyes, you can’t kill it with hours of work on the tennis court,” Julia said.
Ksenia Efremova: ‘I Want To Be A Legend’
The Moscow native won’t be eligible to play in International Tennis Federation junior tournaments until she turns 13 next year. For now, she’s hitting the court every week to be in top shape.
But even as a student, her mother said, Ksenia dreams of becoming an all-time tennis great.
“First of all, she believes in herself. She has no doubt in her mind,” Julia explained. “She has no doubt in her heart that she wants it. So from the bottom of my heart, I know she’ll be the best.”
The proud mother continued: “Sometimes when I’m getting angry and didn’t like something during practices, I ask her: ‘What do you want from tennis?’ And she tells me: ‘I want to become a legend.’ For her it’s not only [enough] to become number one in the world.”
So serious is Ksenia about her future that last December the 12-year-old won the Tennis Europe Junior tournament in Sweden — just days after losing her father to cancer.
“In memory of my father, who passed away during this tournament in Sweden,” Ksenia wrote in a touching tribute on her Instagram.
“First place. You will always live in my heart as the strongest person in the universe. I’ll do everything to let your dreams come true and I know you’ll see it from above.”