| By Brian Coleman
Photo courtesy of the Augustin family


Like a lot of young tennis players, Zavier Augustin’s introduction to tennis began through watching his siblings. In Augustin’s case, it was his older sister, Karah whom he would watch take tennis lessons on the weekends on a court in Bayside, Queens. 

Each time, after watching his sister’s lessons, he would tell her the same thing:

“You know I can beat you if I play you,” the young Zavier would say.

That daily challenge was all the inspiration his parents needed to see to know that young Zavier wanted to be a tennis player. 

“I was always pretty competitive as a kid, and was always active and looking for a sport to play,” said Augustin. “I would be at her lessons all the time, so when she was practicing I would go on the court sometimes, and that’s the first time I picked up a racket. I began taking more lessons and taking the sport more seriously, and it all started on those courts with my sister. I really looked up to her, and still do; she’s the reason I got into tennis and developed a passion for it.”

By the time he was five-years-old, he was enrolled in his own tennis lessons with coach Evan Vrsaljko, and when Vrsaljko joined Advantage Tennis Clubs in New York City, which operates the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club, Manhattan Plaza Racquet Club and New York Tennis Club, Augustin followed him and the two have been training together there ever since. Being a high-performance player, Augustin trains on both hard and clay courts. To complement his clay court training with coach Evan, Augustin also trains with Jay Devashetty. Basically, Augustin splits his training time among these two coaches.

Fast-forward to present day and Augustin has become one of the top-ranked juniors in the country in his age division, reaching as high as No. 10 in the Boys 14s division, and currently sitting inside the top 20 of the rankings.

“I go there about two to three times a week to train, and it’s been so good for my game,” he said. “I love playing there; the courts are excellent and it’s a nice atmosphere. I think it’s definitely a great setting for high performance players to work on their games.”

One of the strengths of Augustin’s game is his sheer desire to constantly improve, and be the hardest working person on the practice court and during matches.

Throughout the years, I’ve learned so much from my coaches,” said Augustin. “Whenever I am playing a match, I can replay the words Evan tells me, ‘no free points; you must earn every shot, every point’. It’s these words of encouragement that keep me going. He really helped me develop an identity for my game and established a confidence in me.”

That unrelenting work ethic originated from his parents, whom Augustin credits for instilling that character trait in him, and something he carries with him every time he steps on the court or in the gym.

“I get that work ethic from both my parents. They always told me, no matter what I do that I should put my all into it,” he said. “I’m always looking to get better, and I go by the quote, ‘practice makes progress.’ Practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect, but you can get better every day. I put my all into my practices and try to push myself as much as I can. If I can make things uncomfortable for myself during practice and training, then I’ll be prepared for uncomfortable situations in tournaments. I am always looking to test my mind and body.”

Augustin is a big kid with powerful weapons on court, something he uses to his advantage. He has a huge forehand and that he is able to use effectively to win points, and he possesses a big serve as well. 

These are the strengths of his game, and Augustin is always working to add more weapons to his arsenal and become a more well-rounded player.

“I can trust my forehand, and I really emphasize the serve-plus-one shot pattern. I work on that a lot in practices,” said Augustin. “I want to focus on other technical aspects of the game to complement my aggressiveness.”

For the last several months, Augustin has been playing in the Boys 16s divisions of tournaments as he gets ready to age out of the Boys 14s divisions, and that’s where his size and strength can play a critical factor in him making that transition smoothly. 

His goals in the short term are to continue improving, and in 2023 play more ITF events as well, as he aims to not only raise his ranking there, but compete against the best of the best on the junior circuit.

“A goal I have for myself is to try and reach the Top 1,000 internationally, and I’m excited about what 2023 has in store for me,” he said. “Long term, I want to play for a Division I, Power 5 school, that’s a main goal I have. And just continue progressing from there, and see where it leads me. I would love to play professionally and of course that’s the ultimate goal. I have to work on myself now, and continue to put the work in, and set myself up for success down the road.”


Brian Coleman

 Brian Coleman is the Senior Editor for New York Tennis Magazine. He may be reached at brianc@usptennis.com