BELLEVUE, Wash. — The Easter Bowl is one of the most prestigious junior tennis tournaments in the country.
John McEnroe won it twice in the 70s, Andy Roddick won it in 1998, and now a 16-year-old from Bellevue has become a two-time champion.
Valerie Glozman was already showing promise at the age of 4. The Bellevue native enjoyed gymnastics, but tennis is the sport she would fall in love with.
"Tennis is a very individual sport, so you have to hold yourself accountable, and I really liked that. I mean, obviously, behind the scenes you have to have a big team surrounding you," said Valerie.
At the core of her team is mom and dad. Dad has coached Valerie for more than a decade, but her big sister Vivian has been her inspiration.
"I definitely looked up to her. I mean, she played at a very high level and then she got to go to a very nice college. So, ever since she went through that path, I've always wanted to play college tennis just like that," said Valerie.
Valerie is a five-star recruit that's currently ranked No. 2 in the country for 18-year-olds.
"Valerie's got it all. She has every tool that you want as a tennis player. She has an amazing forehand. Her weapon is the offensive firepower she has with her forehand, but on the other side of that she's really able to play defense and create variety. She not only can pound the ball flat to the corners, but she can hit variety with slice. She's gotten an improved serve now. And her competitive desire is is like no other and it shows, the results show," said tennis coach Jesse Walter.
Walter, the Seattle University All-American tennis player and Hall of Famer, is one of Valerie's coaches at the Mercer Island Country Club.
"I think every time Valerie walks onto the court, she treats it the same way. She works really hard. She shows professionalism. There is a consistency about her work ethic," said Walter. "I enjoy competing all the time, obviously it can be rough when you lose, you have to come back stronger and not get too down otherwise, like, I mean, confidence is a big part of the game."
And Valerie's confidence is pretty high right now. In April she became the first Washington junior to ever win back-to-back Easter Bowl national championships.
"I mean, to win this is a is a gold ball, a category one national tournament, it would be considered a major in the junior world and all the top kids in the US play in it, and to win this back-to-back, it's a phenomenal accomplishment," said Walter.
Along with the Easter Bowl, Valerie also won a round at the US Open qualifying tournament last year and helped Team USA win the 2022 Billie Jean Cup by beating the Czech Republic.
"It's super exciting, it's a really good feeling just to know the hard work pays off," said Valerie.
She has a chance to go down as the most accomplished player in Washington state history.
"I originally didn't consider playing professional tournaments. I just wanted to go the college route. But after getting the chance to play at the US Open especially, I realized how much I really love this sport and how much I would love to continue playing. So, definitely, I've set my bar higher and I'm really hoping I can play a couple of years on the tour eventually," said Valerie.
Valerie is expecting to play at the US Open qualifying tournament again this year, but if she can win the US National Junior Hard Court Championships, she could earn an automatic bid into the US Open main draw.