Vivian Ovrootsky reconnects with love for tennis at Maccabiah games – The Daily Texan

After helping Texas women’s tennis win its fourth national team championship in 2022, sophomore Vivian Ovrootsky didn’t take much time off over the summer.

In July, Ovrootsky traveled to Haifa, Israel, to compete in the 2022 Maccabiah World Games, a tournament that is often dubbed the “Jewish Olympiad” by athletes and spectators. In the games, Ovrootsky competed in the singles and doubles tournaments, placing second in singles and first in doubles with partner Alexis Blokhina, a Stanford commitment.

In the singles competition, Blokhina and Ovrootsky navigated the competition in the U18 division before meeting in the final. Ovrootsky fell to Blokina 6-2, 6-4 to win the silver medal.

After the singles competition, both turned their attentions to the doubles, this time as partners.

“I’ve known Alexis probably since we were both seven years old,” Ovrootsky said. “So being on the same side of the court after so many years of knowing each other was really nice. We teamed up and played really well.”

Blokhina and Ovrootsky met at a tennis academy in California, where they both started their careers.

“She’s a great tennis player, a great athlete and a great person overall,” Ovrootsky said Maccabi Media during games.

Ovrootsky first discovered the games from head coach Howard Joffe, who took the gold medal in the games in 1989.

“(Joffe) said, ‘Hey, I’d really like you to play this, I think it would be a great experience for you,’” Ovrootsky said. “The Maccabi Games team coach was very excited to put me on the team.”

Ira Miller, coach of the under-18 tennis team, had nothing but praise for Ovrootsky entering the tournament.

“Her technique is very strong, and she is also very experienced with playing and knowing when to step forward,” Miller told Maccabi Media. “(Ovrootsky and Blokhina) would be strong players even in the open team, so I’m very lucky that they wanted to compete (in the U18 tournament).”

While Ovrootsky still enjoys helping the Longhorns to a national championship, Maccabiah’s game success has made the young athlete proud.

“I don’t think anything is going to be as good as winning the national championship, but it was really good,” said Ovrootsky. “To be able to represent my country and win a gold medal for the United States was great, but[it]doesn’t compare to a national championship.”

While in Israel and between the singles and doubles tournaments, the team did some tours. Ovrootsky celebrated his birthday on July 15, did a little prep work for the fall season, and found his love for the sport again after a turbulent spring semester.

“(The games helped me) find a way to fall in love with tennis again,” Ovrootsky said. “I’ve had a bit of a bumpy semester, but being there, having some form of tennis this summer, I think really helped me realize that’s why I enjoy being on the court. I feel a lot happier and a lot more confident in myself and my shoes for this semester and our next season.”

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