Zimbabwe’s top junior tennis player Benjamin Lock is set to rub shoulders with some of the best tennis players in the US college circuit after being snapped up by Florida State University (FSU) on a full tennis scholarship.
Lock (18) has been a consistent performer for Zimbabwe on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior Circuit, the Davis Cup and other regional and international tournaments.
He is currently ranked fourth on the continental rankings after recently dropping from second position, while he has an impressive world ranking of 73rd.
The talented young tennis player’s move to FSU had been in the pipeline since December last year, when he impressed the University’s scouts at the annual Junior Orange Bowl tennis championships which were held in Florida.
In his debut at the Orange Bowl tournament Lock managed to make the main draw of the singles tournament before reaching the quarter-finals of the doubles competition.
“My performances attracted some interest from a number of universities, like Florida State University and University of Louisville.
“However, I’m in no hurry to make a decision at the moment as I still have one more year of high school and am looking forward to doing much better next year,” said Lock in an interview with NewsDay Sport last year.
Lock’s father, Martin, who is a former Zimbabwean Davis Cup player and Zimbabwe Open Champion, which his son also won last year, confirmed his son’s impending move.
“Yes, Benji has been offered a full scholarship at Florida State University. Actually the deal was agreed on in January last year after the Junior Orange Bowl tennis championships and he went over to have a look at the facilities before agreeing to join them.
“There are also top Zimbabwean athletes like Ngonidzashe Makusha at the university and that will help him settle quickly. The university has a reputation for producing top athletes and hopefully they will help him develop his career and take it to another level.
“In fact, one of the Florida State University tennis coaches travelled with him for the junior French Open and Wimbledon qualifiers and they are very excited to have him on board,” said Martin in an interview with NewsDay Sport yesterday.
Lock, who is currently based at Pretoria Boys High School in South Africa, will join his new teammates at FSU soon after finishing his Matric exams.
Last month, the talented youngster won the South / Central ITF Under-18 Junior Circuit title in Pretoria, South Africa.
Lock’s move to FSU confirms the institution’s growing relationship with Zimbabwean athletes.
Besides Makusha, the institution is also home to former Zimbabwean hurdler Kern Harden, who is now a track-and-field coach at the school, while veteran sprinter Brian Dzingai is also a product of the same institution.