Burbank's Vardanyan uses inspiration in finding success

Bulldogs junior singles player enjoyed fruitful season that included Pacific League title and trip to the quarterfinals of the CIF individual tournament.

January 03, 2014|By Jeff Tully,
(Roger Wilson Staff…)

Lilit Vardanyan doesn't have to look far for inspiration. In fact, the Burbank High junior needs to look no further than her family when it comes to encouragement on the tennis court.

Vardanyan's uncle is former tennis professional Sargis Sargsian, who won one singles and two doubles titles during his career on the ATP Tour. Sargsian participated in three Summer Olympic Games, in 1996, 2000 and 2004, and reached career-high rankings of No. 38 in singles and No. 33 in doubles in the world during 2004.

Sargsian also lost to Andre Agassi in the $50,000 HealthSouth USTA Challenger of Burbank at the Burbank Tennis Center in 1997.

"When I first saw him playing when I was about 4 or 5, I really didn't understand how good of a player he was," Vardanyan said of Sargsian, who came to watch some of the single player's matches this season at Burbank. "I just thought 'oh, he's playing, that's nice.'


"But when I became 10 or 11 and I started competing, I started to realize how good of a player he really is. I would go over to his house and watch the DVDs of him playing. And every time I watched him, it kind of inspired me. I wanted to be like him."

Vardanyan is coached by her grandmother, who she was named after. Her grandmother also helped train Sargsian.

"She knows a lot about tennis, and she's helped me a lot," Vardanyan said of her grandmother.

With motivation and support from her family, Vardanyan has developed into an accomplished athlete. Her skills as a singles player were never more evident than this past season when she enjoyed a wildly successful junior campaign with the Bulldogs. Along with losing just two sets the entire season, Vardanyan also captured the Pacific League singles championship and advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Individual Tournament.

Behind Vardanyan, Burbank won a share of its first league title since 2002 and advanced to the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division II playoffs.

It is because of her accomplishments that Vardanyan has been named the 2013 All-Area Singles Player of the Year by the writers and editors of the Burbank Leader, Glendale News-Press and La Cañada Valley Sun.

With all of her individual success this past season, it would be understandable for Vardanyan to dwell on her personal accomplishments. However, what was most important to her was the fact that her Burbank team was able to win a share of the league championship.

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