Talented juniors climb tennis national rankings

Jesse Gothelf in action. Photo: Ofer Levy

LARA Kaplan and Jesse Gothelf are rapidly climbing the national junior tennis rankings after achieving stellar results at major tournaments, and last week were named the Maccabi NSW Tennis 2017 Junior Players of the Year for their efforts.

Both also received confirmation last week of entry into the Australian Championships – in the U18 girls and U12 boys divisions respectively – to be held in mid-December at Melbourne Park.

The club’s tennis director Steve Loeffler said the talented pair are “standout juniors” who deserved their success in big tournaments and were hard workers on the practice courts under their coaches Piotr Haczek and Filippo Wellenfeld.

Gothelf, an Emanuel School student, is ranked 6th in NSW and 16th in Australia for his age group and this year joined the Tennis NSW Junior Development Squad.

He won three of his five singles matches against top 30-ranked junior players at the National Claycourt Championships in Canberra in September.

Late last month in Shepparton, Victoria, he helped the NSW boys’ 12 and under team win the Bruce Cup at the School Sport Australia National Tennis Championships.

Gothelf won 18 of his 19 matches in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, and won the Stosur Award in recognition of his great technical skills and overall performance.

Kaplan, a 15-year-old Moriah College student, is ranked 3rd in NSW and 10th in Australia, and this year earned an International Tennis Federation world ranking.

Her 2017 highlights so far include winning a bronze medal for Australia in mixed doubles at the Maccabiah Games, winning the Nepean girls’ U16 singles title and making the girls’ singles semi-finals at the Bathurst Australian Money Tournament.

The 2017 Maccabi NSW Tennis Most Improved Junior Player award went to Luca Calderon Havas and the Junior Sportsperson Award to Noah Blumberg.

The club’s Senior Sportsperson Award was shared by Lance Rosenberg and Paul Ehrlich who won a Maccabiah Games gold medal together in the men’s 55+ doubles.

Ehrlich also won a bronze medal in singles.

Michael Jankelowitz won the award for most improved adult player.