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Westside’s AJ Shefsky has a bright future on the tennis court
January 23, 2023
Junior AJ Shefksy is three years into his high school tennis career and has already made an impact on the court. Shefsky won the state number two singles title as a freshman and has a promising future in the sport. Shefsky started playing tennis when he was little and has been hooked ever since. He was propelled into the sport by his parents at a young age.
“I started playing tennis when I was a little kid, both my parents played so they introduced it to me when I was about three,” Shefsky said.
Shefsky’s accomplishments are outstanding, especially for a player who is still so early in his career. He has multiple state level accomplishments and other equally impressive wins for his school. Even though he is only a junior he has already set a couple records in his own school.
“I won the number two singles state freshman year, most number two singles wins in a year at Westside, tied for most number one singles wins in a year, most all-time singles wins at Westside,” Shefsky said.
Shefsky’s motivation speaks for itself. To play with the level of ferocity that he has, is not common with most student athletes in this day and age. So clearly he has to model himself after someone. The Westside junior draws inspiration from Spain’s Rafael Nadal, who owns the all-time record for grand slam titles with 22.
“I would say that my parents and uncle inspired me to play tennis,” Shefsky said. “My favorite player Rafael is also pretty inspiring, his mental toughness and fight is just insane to see and I try to be like him in that aspect.”
Shefsky even runs his own business called “ShefStrings.” He heads and strings rackets for other aspiring tennis players who have the same desire to improve at the game.
But his inspirations don’t stop there. His work ethic is a very similar story. He knows what he has to do to keep up in the competitive climate that is high school sports.
“I want to do everything I can to be the best tennis player I can be,” Shefsky said.”I love Kobe (Bryant) and try to implement his work ethic. I wake up early every day to go to the gym or play tennis before school. I want to win state and I know I have to give everything If I want to put myself in that position.”
Other than people like Kobe Bryant and Rafael Nadal, who dominated their sport for several years on the biggest stage in the world. Shefsky also draws from some people who he knows personally. He says those people can grow his skills on a more personal level opposed to him just being able to model some of his idols.
“My coaches (Bart Jeseritz, Amy Studts, Adam Studts, and Scott Slezak) and family keep me motivated,” Shefsky said. ”I am thankful to have them supporting me every step of the way. Along with my teammates, I am very fortunate to have had great teammates in my three years so far. But now I am the only senior, so I am hoping to be a good leader for the younger kids, like I had. Like I said I want to win State next year and so that is a big motivator.”
Shefsky is coming off a semi-final finish at the 2022 State Tennis Championships, where he ended up with a record of 27-8 in the number one singles. Shefsky hopes to cap off his high school career next fall, with the way it started, by winning a state championship.