30 Years of Playing and Coaching History
How I Got Started
I am originally from Sofia, Bulgaria. My family has always led a very active lifestyle. My dad was a professional volleyball player and my mom was a professional Bulgarian folk dancer. So, in other words, my destiny in sports was evident right from the beginning. Thanks to my genetic make-up, I have always been extremely gifted in all sports. Before tennis, I played every sport imaginable from skiing to swimming to gymnastics to ballroom dancing and so on. Finally at the age of 9, I was introduced to tennis. It wasn’t necessarily love at first sight, but I hung in there. After a while, I saw the beauty in the game of tennis and everything that came with it. In a short year, I won my 1st tournament, which happened to be the U10 Sofia Championships. Needless to say, I was hooked.
Junior and University Years
I moved to Canada with my family at the age of 13. It wasn’t easy moving to a new contry where I did not speak the language, but I had tennis. So, I threw myself into practice and worked as hard I could. During my first year in Canada, I lost only one match, which was in the finals of U14 Indoor Nationals. I managed to redeem myself later that year by winning the U14 Outdoor Nationals and finished the year as the #1 ranked player in Canada. After that, I started traveling the world and competing on the Junior ITF circuit, where I achieved a ranking of #79 in the world in 1997 and as high as #62 in my last year as a junior. I was a 5 time Canadian Under 14, 16 and 18 Champion in both singles and doubles. I also had the pleasure to participate in the Australian, French and US Open Junior grand slams. I achieved a ranking of #746 in the world on the WTA Tour by only playing a handful of tournament as a junior before heading to university.
At the age of 18, I was offered a full athletic scholarship to UCLA. Let’s say that the first year was a big adjustment. Learning to juggle school work, tennis and living on my own was not easy, but one thing tennis has taught me is to persevere by working hard and never giving up. At UCLA, I was a member of the Women’s Tennis Team for four years. I Graduated with a double major in Sociology and African American History. During my senior year, I was lucky to be voted as the team captain by both my peers and coaches. I was a two-time All-American Athlete and was a Pac-10 Doubles Finalist. My best achievement was finishing my university career as the #2 ranked doubles team in the nation.
My Coaching Career
I’ve always had an urge to help people ever since I was young. My playing experience at UCLA provided me with the platform and tools needed to pursue a career in coaching. After graduating university, I began my coaching career. I worked at several clubs around the GTA area including Mayfair Lakeshore and Donalda Club. While coaching, I also earned my Bachelor in Childhood Education, which has given me an even better understanding and insights into dealing with children. For 8 years prior to Credit Valley, I had the pleasure of working at Donalda Club under Karl Hale. I started as an assistant pro and within 2 years became the Junior Director where I was responsible for organizing, teaching and overseeing the entire junior program. I am a PTR certified coach as well as a Tennis Canada Coach 3. I have coached in USA and Canada since 1999, during my coaching career I have worked with people of all ages and levels. I truly enjoy teaching tennis and meeting new and interesting people. I am certainly passionate about the sport and I strongly believe that every person is capable and able to surpass their own expectations. I take pride in assisting players of all levels in reaching their full tennis potential and I hope that in the process I get to create some everlasting memories and friendships.