Although she is Suffern’s youngest varsity tennis star, Arielle Shuren is among the nation’s best.
At 14-years-old, Shuren attends Suffern Middle School but is no ordinary student. She’s 6-foot-1 and competes on the Suffern tennis team as an eighth-grader, as well as in national tournaments sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association.
One may ask, why is a middle-school student on the varsity squad? The answer is simple: this tennis prodigy is just that good. She’s currently ranked 14th in the USTA Eastern Conference and continues to compete outside of school.
Introduced to tennis at the age of 4 by her parents, Shuren took an immediate liking to the sport. However, when she got older, tennis took on a whole new meaning.
“When I was 10, I saw the U.S. Open and I saw the other people playing and I wanted to be like them,” Shuren said. “So I started playing organized matches and I told my parents that I really wanted to continue this.”
As Shuren’s skills grew, and her USTA accolades piled up, she decided to try out for the varsity team. Her decision proved to be a good one. She got a spot on the roster two years ago at the age of 12 and went undefeated in singles matches in 2009. Standing at 6-1, she towers over most of her opponents and teammates, but says there were some nerves when she first joined the team.
“Coming in last year was intimidating for me,” Shuren said. “There were a lot of seniors on the team and I knew at first they didn't want a younger player on the team.”
But this year, the jitters are gone and Shuren looks to her teammates as a source of inspiration.
“I look up to all of the seniors that were on the team because they had more experience being on the varsity team than me,” Shuren said. “Even though we had different conflicts, I was there for them and they were there for me and it was a really good experience.”
In her free time, Shuren plays basketball and soccer, although tennis is her main concentration. She trains five days a week after school and maintains high grades in the classroom. To her, academics are just as important as tennis.
“I go to school because I think it’s a really important part if you want to go to college,” Shuren said. “I want to go to UCLA. I have to have really good grades and I do. I am on the honor roll. I know if I have good grades then I will have a good chance for a scholarship.”
Watch Shuren's studio interview during SportsDesk on February 10.