Rising United States-based tennis star Mbonisi Ndimande says he is looking forward to a new challenge after being snapped up by the University of Santa Barbara in California on a tennis scholarship from Seminole State Community College in Oklahoma.
Ndimande is currently the top-ranked singles player in the US’s national junior college ranks and was recently named in the prestigious 2011 International Tennis Association’s All-American Team.
In an interview with NewsDay Sport from his base in the US Ndimande said he was happy to have been selected as one of the most outstanding players in college tennis in the past season.
“It was really an honour to be selected as one of the top players in the past season. I have been working very hard and last season I was playing well. I’m now looking forward to the new challenge in California. I have just settled at my new base and I must say it’s a nice place and I hope it will help further develop my tennis career,” said Ndimande.
Ndimande is one of the eight local elite athletes awarded an Olympic Solidarity scholarship to assist him in qualifying for the 2012 Olympic Games.
At one point, he reached a World Junior ITF ranking of 52 and he is currently ranked No 1 in the national junior college ranks in singles.
As a freshman at Seminole in the 2009-10 season, Ndimande was ranked the best player in doubles tennis and also one of the top singles players.
The former Clapham High School student has played in both the Wimbledon and Australian Open junior singles championships and in 2009 he represented Zimbabwe in Davis Cup competition.
He was also a finalist in the African Junior Championships in 2008.