Top-ranked 12-year-old tennis player in America intent on staying in Minnesota

Top-ranked 12-year-old tennis player in America intent on staying in Minnesota

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. — It’s early in Daniela Del Mastro’s tennis career, but she’s already the number one ranked 12-year-old in America.

She described her emotions when she got the top ranking: “I was honestly so happy, very happy and proud of myself.”

With recent success, life has become a whirlwind.

“It’s busy because she’s getting a lot of requests,” said Emilie Del Mastro, Daniela’s mom. “She’s traveling a ton. She’s doing a lot with USTA National now. It’s wild but it’s been so fun.”

The Del Mastro’s live in Maple Grove. Daniela’s parents were both D1 athletes at Brown. Daniela started playing tennis when she was just four. Mom and Dad saw a change when she went to national tournament two years ago.

“At about age 10, it became her thing,” said Emilie. “We didn’t really have to push her anymore. She just kinda took it on as her own goal and purpose.”

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With a player displaying this much potential, the most common next move is a move to a development academy out of state, but that’s not the plan.

“We have the best set up here. I think Minnesota, people don’t realize how great the community is, how great our coaches are here,” said Emilie.

Daniela already has multiple coaches, a personal trainer and a sports psychologist.

“I think having a small team that’s really dedicated to you is better than being in a large academy where you can get lost,” said Emilie.

This January, at a tournament in Wisconsin, Daniela beat both Minnesota champions from this season’s state tournament. Both are upperclassmen in high school. Del Mastro is in seventh grade.

“Honestly, I learned that I could play against the stronger players and I could play against players that are a lot older than me,” said Daniela.

The future is bright, and at least for a while, it’ll take place in Minnesota.

“It’s really cool to think about how good I can get if I keep working hard,” said Daniela.

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