Every young tennis player has dreams of one day becoming a professional, spending their days traveling the globe and competing against the world’s top players.
Bogdan Sheremet was no different. As a kid growing up in Ukraine, he shared those dreams.
“Getting the proper training there was expensive, but I had a real passion for the sport,” he recalls. “I ended up working my way up to competing at the national level and had big dreams of becoming a professional.”
Of course, the professional tour isn’t waiting for everyone, but that doesn’t mean tennis is removed from your life.
“When I realized that wasn’t going to happen and I still had the passion for the sport, I wanted to go into coaching,” said Sheremet. While still playing tennis, Sheremet began setting the stage for his coaching career. After moving to the United States, he was playing at a tournament at MatchPoint NYC in Brooklyn, and was amazed at both the facility and the quality of players it had in its program. He knew he had found his calling and wanted the opportunity to coach players and help them achieve the dream he once had.
“I really started to study the art of coaching, and read books on things like physiology and kinesiology; how the body works,” he said. “I began working at different camps here in the US, and after coming to MatchPoint NYC, I thought it would be incredible to be able to work here.”
Sheremet has become one of the top coaches at MatchPoint NYC since joining their team, and has worked extensively with one of its top players, Agnia Vustina. Together, the two have formed a successful coach-player relationship that began when Vustina was just eight-years-old.
“We’ve been working together for the last five years,” said Sheremet. “She’s a hard-worker, very smart and extremely talented. We work on everything from her technical and tactical game to the mental aspects. We’re happy with the results she has posted at tournaments and are continuing to strive for more.”
Vustina is a 12-year-old who for the last few months has been competing up in a division in the Girls 14s.
Despite playing against older competitors, she has not missed a beat, using the training with Sheremet to compile excellent results on the USTA tournament circuit, where she is currently ranked in the Top 5 in 12U and Top 20 in 14U in the Eastern Section.
Recently, she traveled to Manhattan and captured the title at the L5 Championships at Roosevelt Island Racquet Club. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic putting a halt to junior tournaments, she won the doubles title at the L4 Eastern Empire Cup at Bogota Racquet Club in New Jersey, captured the singles title at the L5 Armonk Indoor Mid-Winter Championships, knocking off the top two seeds in the process, and reaching the finals of the L5 Glen Head Racquet & Fitness Championships.
“He has always taught me to believe in myself, and show your character when you’re on court,” Vustina said of Sheremet’s coaching. “You can’t be scared out there, even if you lose a point. You have to keep going for it. We’ve been together for five years and it’s been a good journey. He’s the second coach I’ve ever had, and he’s an amazing coach. He taught me how to be a fighter on the tennis court.”
This past summer, with the lack of tournament play available, Sheremet and Vustina were able to put in the necessary work so that she would be ready to return to action when tournaments returned.
“Her dream is to become a world number one and win Grand Slams,” said Sheremet. “We make sure we work hard and work smart towards that goal. Her mother is very dedicated and does everything she can to help her daughter achieve her dream. Our main goal right now is to continue working on her tactics and developing her game on the court. She has great technique and we are really emphasizing improving her tactical ability. She’s been doing very well with that. Another thing is making sure she stays healthy, finding that balance between tennis and recovery, that’s a big part.”
Ensuring this training is done right is something that MatchPoint NYC helps them with, providing the right support to improve both the player and person.
“The staff we have here is great,” said Sheremet. “There is an excellent fitness facility here, and they provide all the help and support that a coach and player needs.”
As Vustina continues to work on her game and climb up the junior rankings, her and Sheremet are focused on maintaining consistency in her game. She has lofty goals for herself, but with her work ethic and in the right environment, Vustina will be a name to remember.
“I know it sounds weird, but I want to win Grand Slams and go to the Olympics,” she said. “In the short-term, I want to be more consistent, and strive for consistency rather than striving for perfection.”
Sheremet has found a home at MatchPoint NYC, and has made the transition from player to coach. He understands having the dream of becoming a professional tennis player, and has turned his goal into pushing Vustina to be the best tennis player she can be.
Agnia Vustina works on her forehand during a drill with Bogdan Sheremet at MatchPoint NYC in Brooklyn.
Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org