Julia Glushko is going through a renaissance of late, winning three International Tennis Federation tournaments over the past two months. Picking up singles titles in Thailand, Singapore and Granby, Canada, Glushko was also a finalist in a pair of other competitions as well. With Shahar Pe’er retiring last year, Glushko seems ready to grab the mantle as Israel’s top female tennis player.

Born in 1990 in Artemivsk, Ukraine, Glushko moved to Israel with her parents – both tennis instructors – along with two siblings in 1999 and settled in Jerusalem where she immediately fell in love with the Israel Tennis Center. Four years later, the family moved to Ramat HaSharon and then Glushko made her way to the Wingate Institute outside Netanya where she continued her training.

After turning professional in 2004, Glushko won her first tournament three years later in Mallorca, Spain, and continued moving up the ranks of world tennis advancing to her first Grand Slam, the US Open, in 2012. Glushko reached her highest ranking in 2014 when she was 79th in the world after qualifying for all four Grand Slams.

However, the past couple of years have been difficult for the blue-eyed, dynamic and energetic 28-year old seems, who finally seems to be back on track.

“I have a new team working with me and it’s been very important that I surround myself with positive people that really believe in me,” Glushko explained. “I’ve been working extremely hard and I have been choosing the right tournaments to get a lot of matches in, which in turn is helping me get my confidence back.”

“My coaches Amir Haddad, Keren Shlomo and Oren Bar Nur have been pushing me in the right direction by constantly telling me that I can really be back to where I was before and that’s been very helpful.”

After having some ups and downs over the past few years, including injuries and an illness, Glushko is very much appreciating the fact that she is back in rhythm on the court,

“I’m so happy right now both in my personal and professional life and I believe that when I’m happy it reflects as to how I’m playing tennis as well.”

Tennis players have the wonderful opportunity of traveling the world, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures.

“It’s such a blessing to be an athlete where I have the chance to meet so many wonderful people. I love meeting new people, I love different cultures and I love different foods. I had never been to Singapore and just two weeks ago I was there for a competition. It was so exciting,” said Glushko.

Moving her training back to her home in Israel has made a big difference in getting into the proverbial swing of things.

“I had been training outside of Israel, but back at home I am closer to my coaches who keep me to a schedule,” said Glushko. “The first time I broke into the Top 100, I was training in Israel, and of course being with my family helps. It’s true that I’ve been to so many places, but home is home. From the mentality, the language and the food that I love so much, it’s very comforting. There’s no place like home.”

With the US Open coming up at the end of August, Glushko’s eyes are set on qualifying once again for a Grand Slam, something that has eluded her since 2014.

“I’m currently 162nd in the world and I am definitely going to be playing in the US Open qualifying round which is extremely exciting. I have such fond memories of New York and I’ve always done well there.”

However, before heading to the Big Apple, Glushko will be featuring in at least two more tournaments.

“I’ll be playing in Lexington, Kentucky, and Vancouver, Canada, for sure and perhaps the Rogers Cup Canadian Open in Montreal, a city that I just visited when I won the Granby Competition.”

One of the greatest parts about being an Israeli athlete is the privilege of representing the blue-and-white around the world and that is something very dear to Glushko’s heart.

“I don’t even know how to describe the feeling. Representing Israel is just something so special. When I see that all my hard work pays off, it’s a privilege because we don’t have that many athletes playing internationally,” gushed Glushko.

“When I travel the world, I’m always asked where I am from and I proudly say Israel. I don’t look Israeli and I don’t really have an Israeli accent when I speak English, so people are amazed and they say that it’s so cool. I love being from Israel. It’s super special.”

Joshua Halickman, the Sports Rabbi, covers Israeli sports and organizes Israel Sports Adventures for tourists and residents. Follow the Sports Rabbi on Twitter @thesportsrabbi or visit www.sportsrabbi.com. Contact the Sports Rabbi via email at sportsrabbi9@gmail.com

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