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The Student News Site of West Boca Raton High School

The West Boca Bullseye

The Student News Site of West Boca Raton High School

The West Boca Bullseye

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8-year-old Vlada Hranchar is a Future World No. 1

Rick Macci: “I haven’t taken on a project like this since Serena and Venus Williams… that’s how much I believe in this little girl”
8-year-old+Vlada+Hranchar+is+a+Future+World+No.+1

8-year-old Vlada Hranchar is a prodigy, and she trains right here in West Boca everyday at the Rick Macci Tennis Academy.

And it’s up to world renowned tennis coach Rick Macci, who has trained Andy Roddick, Jennifer Capriati, Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, and Venus Williams, to build her up on the tennis court every single day.

“I have never seen a young child, and I’ve done this a long time… over 300 national titles… I’ve done this with so many kids,” Macci said in a recent interview. “I have never seen a work ethic with a young child that loves to play and that loves other people. It’s not the work ethic, though. It’s the quality of the work ethic – how her body is synchronized, everything is in harmony… it’s like a little machine.”

Having a good work ethic helps when you enjoy where you play tennis. Vlada said that “I like my coaches, I like my friends, I like to play matches, and I like volleying and drills,” when speaking about playing at Rick Macci Tennis Academy.

Vlada already has over 200,000 Instagram followers and a 4.00 UTR (Universal Tennis Rating). Vlada has also recently won the following tournaments:

  • Emilio Sanchez girls 14 & under singles
  • May-Hem in Miami Beach girls 12 & under singles
  • 2024 “Little Mo” East Regionals girls 8 & under singles
  • Level 6 @ HITT by Dunlop girls 12 & under singles

“She’s a little girl with a great family and a great opportunity who wants to go after her dream and here at Rick Macci Tennis Academy, we are going to make that come true,” Macci said.

When asked what her dream was, or her ultimate tennis goal, Vlada said “I want to be number one”.

Saying you want to be No. 1 in the world is simple, but actually doing it is nothing close to simple. Luckily for Vlada, she already has the tools in the bag to be a generational talent, and she is continuing to grow. It also helps that her mom, Marina Vladim, is tall.

“Obviously she’s 4’2, 60 pounds, so she is still small,” Macci said. “But it’s the mental part (that sticks out). The discipline, the work ethic, the drive… those are the wild cards inside her that, in my opinion, are beyond her years. And she loves to play. That’s really the cornerstone of her game. Now when you get into the game, she plays the ball, she likes to attack, she is an aggressive player. But she is still diminutive… she is still like a little one.”

Vlada’s favorite player is Iga Świątek, who is currently the No. 1 women’s tennis player in the world. However, Vlada doesn’t model her game after Iga’s. “I have my own style,” Vlada said. “My style is doing dropshots, serves, and volleys.”

Macci definitely agrees with what Vlada said, stating that “when you ask her who do you want to play like, she wants people to play like her someday. That’s the real answer. She has her own style. Even from early on, whoever initially worked with her in Ukraine to take the ball right off the bounce on the backhand, it just goes hand in hand with Rick Macci and the way I have trained Venus, Serena, Capriati, Kenin… all of these players cut the court and take the ball early. That was already in her DNA, on the backhand especially.”

Macci added that “she is an aggressive player. There is no fear. At the end of the day, you’ve got to have weapons, and even at eight years old, her weapon is not only her mind, but her style of play.”

Vlada Hranchar training at Rick Macci Tennis Academy on June 3rd, 2024. (Isaac Edelman)

A lot of young talents like this get burnt out, get injured, or just don’t pan out. It’ll be interesting to see what happens across the next decade. But for now, everything is looking bright for Vlada, a future World No. 1.

“Turning pro is easy, but turning pro and being successful or making a living out of it… that’s a completely different question,” Macci said. “There’s no rush (to turn pro). It’s not where you start, but it’s where you finish. I’m in this for the long haul for her entire career. Turning pro for whether it’s this age, this age, this age… it’s irrelevant. You can only play so many tournaments because of the age eligibility rule. My goal is to make her the best I can make her.”

Macci does guarantee one thing: “When she does play pro tournaments, everybody is going to know that this little kid is going to be one to be reckoned with.” He also adds that “this is a long-term process. It’s like building a house. It’s brick by brick and step by step. You don’t take the escalators, you take the stairs. All the little details… we are going to spend a lot of time together. She is a kid first, and a tennis player second.”

Vlada obviously means the world to Macci.

“What I love about this, I’m not just making a difference in her tennis game, but I’m making a difference in her life. And that’s the best feeling in the world.” Vlada is surely bought in, too, as she said “I love Rick” at the end of the interview.

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About the Contributor
Isaac Edelman
Isaac Edelman, Editor-in-Chief
Howdy! I’m Isaac Edelman and I’m a senior at West Boca Raton Community High School. I’m an aspiring sports broadcaster and reporter, always seeking to improve my craft. I love sports writing and public speaking. In the future, I would like to become a beat writer or/and a reporter for a professional sports team. I would also love to be a play-by-play announcer or news anchor. As part of The Bullseye, I write many sports articles, run our social media pages (@wbhsbullseye), and make sure everything runs smoothly on the technology part of the site (behind the scenes). I hope to provide students with the best and latest sports news. I am excited to be an Editor-in-Chief for The Bullseye this school year!
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