Valeria â€œLeraâ€ Patiuk: Israelâ€™s next Shahar Peer?
November 20, 2011 by Howard Blas
In many ways, she is a typical Israeli teenager â€” she wears nail polish on her fingers (pink) and toes (blue), listens to Rihanna, and has an active Facebook life. Her friends write comments like, â€œMiss youâ€”when are you coming back to school?â€ Valeria Patiuk misses them too, but the 15-year-old, who was born in Ukraine and moved to Israel at age one, is a busy young woman these days.
Lera, as she is known, came back recently from an amazing run at the US Open. She played impressively in both the juniors singles and doubles tournaments. Some say she is the next Shahar Peer! Lera not only admires Peer, she also
played on the same Fed Cup team as Peer, where Israel defeated Bulgaria 2-1
in a February, 2011 competition in Eilat.
Her coach Asaf Yamin very much believes in Lera. â€œShe is uniqueâ€”dedicated, serious, intense, likes to practice, and enjoys what she does!â€ Yamin is hopeful that as she plays more at this high level, she will rise up the ranks of professional tennis. She is currently ranked 708 in the world for singles and 848 for doubles.
Luckily, this girl remains humble. Lera attends school, where she likes math. She â€œloves candy, ice cream and anything sweet,â€ and she adores her grandmothers cooking. Keep an eye on this smiley, good natured tennis playerâ€”you will be hearing a lot more about her!