Teen tennis standout earns college scholarship

By Alex Kushel

Sun Sentinel Correspondent

Jan 28, 2022 11:13 AM

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Tatenda Mutetwa, who trains at the LAT Tennis Academy in Boynton Beach, received a tennis scholarship to attend Lewis University in Illinois.

Tatenda Mutetwa, who trains at the LAT Tennis Academy in Boynton Beach, received a tennis scholarship to attend Lewis University in Illinois. (Tatenda Mutetwa/Courtesy)

Tatenda Mutetwa has made the most of his opportunity while training with the LAT Tennis Academy at Indian Spring Country Club in Boynton Beach.

The 18-year-old has developed on the court to reach new heights. The rising standout is living out a childhood dream as he will attend Lewis University in Illinois on a tennis scholarship.

“It was the most exciting day in my tennis career,” he said. “I always wanted to play collegiate tennis and it’s a big dream that has come true.”

Mutetwa will continue to train with the LAT Tennis Academy in Boynton Beach before attending Lewis University in August. He credited and praised the team at the LAT Tennis Academy, which has included coaches Lawrence Carpio, Patrick Carpio, Salim Zouadi and Matthew Tanulanond as well as trainers RK Bacalla and Kim Bacalla.

“I have received a lot of exposure and played in different tournaments against top players,” he said. “The academy has helped me with my mindset and that has been the biggest change for me. I had learning experiences and gained new friendships. I have been able to train with the best juniors from all over the world. I am really thankful to the LAT Tennis Academy.”

Mutetwa, who is a native of South Africa, qualified to play in his first tournament in the United States at the Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships in 2019 in Plantation. He participated in the Boys 16 singles and doubles draw. He did not anticipate an opportunity to train in Florida, but the trajectory of his career changed after he caught the attention of coaches from the LAT Tennis Academy at the Orange Bowl. The opportunity to join the tennis academy in Boynton Beach was a turning point for his career.

“I did not have the intention of being here after the Orange Bowl,” he said. “I had a conversation with coach Lawrence Carpio and he is one of the top coaches in the world. It was an easy choice for me.”

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After training with the LAT Tennis Academy, Mutetwa captured the title at the Boca Delray Holiday Tournament at Boca Lago Country Club. He won all four matches in straight sets. He won two consecutive tournaments after winning the Broward New Year’s Kickoff Championships in Coral Springs during January 2020. He displayed his ability again by winning four matches in straight sets. He also won all four matches without dropping a set to earn the championship at the Broward Holiday Classic in Coral Springs during December 2020.

During his time with the LAT Tennis Academy, he raised his level of play and ranked as high as No. 386 among junior players in the world in the International Tennis Federation.

Mutetwa hit the courts at age 8 in Zimbabwe and developed a passion for the game. At age 12, he started to play more competitively in South Africa and emerged onto the scene while playing in tournaments in other countries. He has looked up to influential tennis players from South Africa, including his older brother Julius Mutetwa as well as Khololwam Montsi and Dylan Salton.

“The goal was to try to get into the premier events,” he said. “I had the talent and I took it more seriously.”

Mutetwa said he is excited about the next step and to continue toward his goal to play professionally.

“I have the opportunity to hone my skills for four years in college,” he said. “I am thankful to Lewis University and everyone who has supported me.”

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