Rafi, 17 years old from the Ben B. and Joyce E. Eisenberg Israel Tennis & Education Center in Jerusalem, started playing when he was nine years old. His game is characterized by motivation and his ability to never give up on a ball. His ambition is to get into a US college and play tennis there.
Rafi’s family went through a rough time following the death of his father, who accompanied him to tournaments and followed his career closely. After he died, the Center took amazing care of Rafi and stayed very close to him until he was ready to start playing tennis again. That summer, he won the National Summer Tournament 1 in the U-18 age group.
Rafi spoke of the difficult times and the tremendous support he received from the ITEC. “My father always encouraged me during tournaments, and after he died I wanted to continue to play the same way. In the beginning it was very hard for me, but thanks to my mother Zehava and the ITEC, I wanted to give everything so that my father could look down on me and see me happy.”
“From the day I started playing tennis at the ITEC, I always felt like it was a second home, so even after I took a break from tennis, I felt the Center’s love and embrace. They gave me so much support and pushed me to keep going.”
ITEC center manager Ilan Maman added,: “Rafi grew up here at the ITEC – Jerusalem and he is part of the family. He respects those around him and behaves beautifully with remarkable professionalism when it comes to tennis.”
Coach Rafi Zidkiyahu agreed.: “Rafi is someone who plays from the soul with a great love for tennis and for the ITEC. He is a wonderful player, thanks to his ongoing commitment to tennis and his social and professional influence on other children.”