Tucson’s latest import from Tiberias, Israel, is Talya Zandberg, the University of Arizona’s new tennis star.
Zandberg began playing tennis at age 5, inspired by watching her older brother play. After serving two years in the Israeli Defense Forces, she committed to continuing her tennis career and furthering her education.
“I chose Arizona because the hot weather is similar to Israel weather,” says Zandberg. “During my visit I really liked the university atmosphere, coaches and the girls on the team. I really like the support that is here for the athletes.”
The jump from the Israeli army to being a full-time student and full-time athlete has not come without struggle. “I needed to get used to all the school work because I had to serve for two years in the army, which means I didn’t study at all,” says Zandberg. “But I like it here and I have met Jewish friends who showed me Chabad, where I like to go on the weekends.”
Since joining the UA tennis team, Zandberg already has made her mark. She was named Pac-12 player of the week in February. Currently, she is finishing conference matches and preparing for finals.
“Talya is a remarkable young woman,” says Arizona Wildcat Women’s Tennis Head Coach Vicky Maes. “She is a fierce competitor and will add a lot to our program in the next few years. Coming to America at the spring semester and being thrown into college life and high-level competition right away is extremely challenging, but Talya has done this with a big smile on her face. She is tackling the demands of school, training, and match play like a champ.”
Although happy with her situation here, Zandberg admits that, along with missing friends and family, she finds herself missing Israel. “Now that I’m here I appreciate the culture and the people in Israel even more,” says Zandberg. “I really like Arizona and Tucson, but Israel will always be where my heart belongs.”
For the Arizona Wildcat Women’s Tennis schedule, visit arizonawildcats.com.