Bulgarians conquer from Santa Barbara

Dimitar Yazadzhiev, far right, recently hosted a six-pack of the top junior tennis players from Bulgaria in Santa Barbara..

The group claimed three titles at the 47th Anaheim Junior Tournament.

December’s 47th Annual Anaheim Junior Tennis Tournament experienced a new level of competition this year — the Junior Bulgarian National Tennis Team.

The infiltration originated in Santa Barbara, where Oceanside Tennis Academy head coach Dimitar Yazadzhiev hosted six internationally ranked junior tennis players, ages 12-to-14, for a two-week training program.

Four of the players – Victoria Bardareva, Vivian Zlatanova, Kaloan Valtchev, Andrey Alawi – are Bulgarian national champions in their respective age groups.

The players started their training by competing in the Anaheim tournament. To say the players had successful results would be an understatement. Of the six players, five made it to the semifinals and three were crowned as tournament champions.

After the tournament, the Bulgarian juniors teamed up with Yazadzhiev’s local Santa Barbara students for a clinic at the Oceanside tennis facility located at the Doubletree Resort.

The international juniors had a schedule on par with professional athletes while they were here. They worked from 9-12 and 1-4 on drills, match play and point play, as well as the psychological aspects of the game. In addition, another hour each day was devoted to overall fitness.

“The great thing was the opportunity for the players at Oceanside to train, compete and socialize with highly motivated and focused players that are already winning major tournaments. I can see how positive an influence this visit was for the players at Oceanside.”

Yazadzhiev said that working with the Bulgarian Tennis Federation and Bulgarian coaches contributes to the success of the recent exchange. Plans are underway to offer the same exchange next year.

“This idea is great for the Bulgarian top players as well as the junior players from Santa Barbara as it gives the players the opportunity to develop more confidence, face new challenges, and understand different aspects of the game of tennis.”

The hope is to expand the event to bring young tennis players from all over Europe to Santa Barbara to train at the Oceanside Academy. Both the competitive tennis aspects of Dimitar’s program and the cultural benefits of Santa Barbara make this exchange a win-win situation for all of the visiting and local junior players alike.

The six players consisted of:
Victoria Bardareva – 12 years old – Bulgarian National Champion Girls 12’s
Vivian Zlatanova – 14 years old – Bulgarian National Champion Girls 14’s
Kaloan Valtchev – 12 years old – Bulgarian National Champion Boys 12’s
Martin Atanasov – 12 years old – Bulgarian Top 4 Boys 12’s
Andrey Alawi – 14 years old – Bulgarian National Champion Boys 14’s
Stefan Tafrov – 14 years old – Bulgarian Top 4 Boys 14’s


  1. Mmatthews8 says

    Some amazing young athletes! Sounds like a great opportunity for both ends.