TENNIS ace Benjamin Lock might have missed Zimbabwe’s crucial Davis Cup Euro/Africa Group II tie away to Finland back in March due to college commitments but it was worthwhile on a personal level.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
The 23-year-old rising star went on to enjoy a stellar final year on the US collegiate tennis circuit with the Florida State University (FSU) tennis team.
Lock was FSU’s best player throughout the season as he earned All-American honours, made the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) all-star team, and emerged the ACC Player of the Year runner-up, as well as the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Most Improved Player.
This week Lock begins his journey as a full-time professional tennis player with two International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures events in Mozambique before coming home for two more similar events in three weeks’ time.
“I had an amazing four years at Florida State University,” Lock told Standardsport as he reflected on his career in the US.
“The coaching staff pushed me to my limits and made me the player I am today. I am sad to be done but I will always be thankful for the amazing time I had,” he said from Mozambique where he is preparing for his first post university competition.
“This year was my best tennis season hands down. I felt that all the small pieces of my game finally came together and it all just clicked. I worked really hard, probably harder than ever this year and so it was a great feeling to get rewarded with some national awards and honors,” the 23-year-old Zimbabwe number two player added.
Lock was ranked as high as number nine in the US during the season in singles play and seventh in doubles action on the ITA standings.
In April he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Finance degree.
“I am extremely proud to have graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Finance and one day I plan on returning to get my masters, but that will be at a much later stage. I will turn professional and focus 100% on tennis starting this month,” he said.
Coming from a tennis crazy family where his father Martin Lock is a former Zimbabwe international who also represented the country in the Davis Cup in the 80s and young brother Courtney is carving his own career in the US, Lock has goals to achieve on the pro circuit.
“My goal in tennis is to be in the top 10 in the world and to play at Wimbledon. I have had this goal since I was 10 years old. While playing tennis, I also want to use my talents to help the less privileged and do as much as I can for charity and the less fortunate,” revealed the tennis ace.
Currently he is ranked 703 on the singles on the ITF rankings and 897 on the double ladder.
The conclusion of Lock’s US collegiate tennis career is sweet music for Tennis Zimbabwe as his absence in the last Davis Cup fixture condemned the country to the relegation play offs.
Lock confirmed his availability for the tricky relegation fixture away to Georgia next month.
“Sadly, I did miss the last Davis Cup tie due to university commitments but I am definitely playing in the next tie against Georgia. I think we will win, we have a good team and Georgia will get our absolute best effort,” Lock said.