Name: Axel Nefve
School: Oak Elementary School
Accomplishment: After a strong 2010 tennis season that saw him win two tournaments and reach the semifinals of the Midwest Junior Closed Outdoor Championship, Nefve is now ranked No. 3 in the Boys 10-and-under division for the Midwest.
Key to Awesomeness: Nefve was introduced to the sport of age of 6, but his surroundings growing up made him almost destined for the sport. Born in Paris, he grew up within walking distance of the red clay courts of Roland Garros, where the French Open is held every summer.
“It was pretty cool because I got to play on those courts and even go to the tournament a couple of times,” said Nefve.
Nefve moved to the U.S. with his family at the age of 6 and enrolled in tournaments shortly after. Since then, he has armed herself with one of the best coaches in the country by working with Jack Sharpe at the Hinsdale Racquet Club. Sharpe is a former touring pro who has gone on to coach players on the ATP and WTA Tour who have been ranked as high as 20th in the world.
“Jack is not only an amazing coach, but one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever met,” said Monica Nefve, Axel’s mother. “The work he has done with Axel is just fantastic.”
A Rigorous Schedule: The travel demands for players at the elite junior level can be quite rigorous, as Nefve competes in roughly 25 events over the course of the year. In the last six weeks alone, he has competed in Ohio, Wisconsin, and California.
Monica Nefve said that this is where her role in her son’s tennis comes in, as she takes on a watchful, behind-the-scenes role to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
“If you ask any parent at these tournaments, they will all say you have to love the sport to do this,” said Monica Nefve. “I do all the travel arrangements, drive him to practice and tournaments, make sure he’s doing his homework and getting good grades while we travel, and that he goes to sleep early and is prepared on the day of a match. It’s absolutely worth it though because he really enjoys it and has had the opportunity to make friends from all over the country. “
What’s Next: Nefve is getting ready for another national tournament in Michigan at the beginning of the March.