I started playing tennis at the age of 6 in Lesotho, Africa. I was a swimmer first but they were charging 5 cents and my family lived off an $80 salary for a group of 5. My older brother started playing tennis and I was fascinated by the fact that he would bring tennis balls back and sell them in my village. I only got a pair of shoes once a year, and that would be on Christmas. I competed for years barefoot and my feet would tear until I started bleeding. I would take a few days off, then when I felt better I would go back again. At the time I was only 8/9.
When I turned 10, I quit playing to help my mom start her business selling clothes on the side street so I can contribute to helping my family. I had to grow up and basically be a man at 10. One of my coaches (Letona Mokhitli) came to my house and talked to my parents about how much talent he thinks I have. So my parents let me go back but I had to sell oranges from office to office so I can buy myself a pair of tennis shoes.
The same coach moved away and I felt like my dreams were shattered. After a year, he invited me to live with him in his one room house. One of the players received a tennis scholarship to come to America and I knew that’s what I wanted. Nobody in my country has ever played college tennis so to them, it was a crazy dream. The king of Lesotho offered to help with my flight and my mom managed to gather $20 from neighbors. I remember my first day when I got to college and everyone went to Walmart to buy the necessities and I walked out with nothing. My coach asked why and I told him my situation. He then went home and gave me some of his old blankets and a few things to use.
In my first year in college I got two odd jobs where I worked 35 hours a week and I was a full time student and an athlete. (I had to make it work). I was not on any scholarship so I had to work my butt off so I could receive a tennis scholarship the following year. Fast forward to 4 years in college, I made first team conference D1 and received a degree. I am the academy director and coaching people achieve their tennis goals is my new passion.
COACH Jon Brown
My name is Jon Brown. I’ve had a passion for teaching people tennis since I started playing more three years ago. Once I learned how to hit and got that huge smile on a great shot I began to strive to put that same smile on the faces of others. There’s a special feeling seeing the joy on others faces when the technique clicks and they start experiencing the fun that is tennis. On top of that you make great friends and it can help replace cardio!! Who is up for less time on the moving treadmill belt and more time in the sun tilling topspin forehands??!! Let’s gooooooo!
I began playing tennis when I was eight years old in Lusaka, Zambia. I was a soccer player and liked playing soccer, but the distance between my house and the soccer field was just too far for an eight-year-old lad. My mother then asked if I wanted to try out for a different sport; I was certain of what I wanted but had no idea she had other ideas. My mum purchased me a tennis racket when I got home from school one day, and I was eager to try out a new sport. Fast forward a year, and I became Zambia’s number one junior tennis player in the categories under/10 and under/12. Everything changed after then, When I realized my potential within the sport I got even more committed and fell in love with the game. I continued to become number one in the age groups under/14, under 16, and under/18, and was number two in the seniors. That was really beneficial to me in several ways. When I finished school, I decided I wanted to study in the United States of America, so I began contacting coaches here…after a year, I received a scholarship to come to the States and play college tennis and further my education. That journey has been more than I could have imagined. Life changing in so many ways. The hurdles and challenges I have had to endure and overcome I now use on a day-to-day basis to help my clients reach their tennis goals.
COACH Nyathi Motlojoa
I was born and raised in Lesotho, a beautiful country landlocked by South Africa. I started playing tennis at the age of 5 and had an older brother by two years who played tennis two I always had someone to play with but also someone to look up to on the tennis court. We both inspired and pushed and brought out the best in each other throughout our tennis journey all the way from pre-teens into high school and college tennis.
Junior Tennis Career
Started representing my country in international events at the age of 11
Ranked #1 in my age group in my country from u/14 to u/18
Won the u/14 African Junior Championships in doubles in 2014
ranked top 100 in the world in u/18
College Tennis Career
- Led Seward County Men’s Tennis Team to a #2 national ranking playing at Line 1 doubles
- played Line #1 in singles and doubles at Luther College in Senior Year
- Ranked #2 in the Midwest Region for doubles (2019 Fall season
- Ranked 14 in the ITA DIII rankings (2019 Fall season)
- Ranked 15 in the NCAA DIII National rankings for doubles (2021 Spring Season)
- Ranked 14 in the NCAA DIII National rankings for doubles (2022 Spring Season)
- Made 3 NCAA DIII Team Nationals appearances
- Won Male Athlete of the Year in 2022 at Luther College
I have been able to reach milestones beyond what I dreamt of as a junior player and broke records in College Tennis I never would have imagined. The highlights of my career are only a smidge of what I have been able to achieve in life as far as personal growth and development due to playing Tennis. I aim to share my experience and knowledge of the sport with players of all ages and stages in hopes that I can be a positive influence on their lives and add to their growth and development just as my coaches have done throughout my career.