Motlojoa aims to impress in US college tennis again


MASERU – Lesotho’s US-based tennis star Nyathi Motlojoa is determined to put up another impressive performance during the American Rivers National Championship starting tomorrow. Motlojoa, 21, helped his Luther College team to book a place in the National Championship with an outstanding individual performance that saw his team winning the American Rivers Conference a fortnight ago.

The Lesotho-born player was instrumental in the victory for the Luther College team, having won seven singles out of eight and winning all the eight doubles. This was the first time in five years for the Luther College team to be crowned the champions of the American Rivers Conference. Luther College, who dominated the 10-team Conference two weeks ago, will this time around be competing against 35 teams in the National Championship.

“This is a goal we set for ourselves even before the season started, knowing we had lost a full season due to Covid-19 pandemic,” said Motlojoa in an interview with Public Eye on Monday this week.   “We wanted to come back hungrier and more prepared to compete with the best. So I can confidently say we are very prepared and we have put in the necessary work to compete at such a high level.

Motlojoa further said: “Personally, I am at a college career high right now and this is the biggest and most social opportunity and so I intend to have fun with it and give my best on the court.” Motlojoa said he’s glad he was able to be part of the Luther College team who won the American Rivers Conference a fortnight ago, after five years of dismal performance.

“And as I have one remaining year at Luther I hope to have the same or even better performance next season and make it to the National Championship once again,” Motlojoa said. Luther College beat eight opposing teams out of nine in the just-ended 2021 American Rivers Conference competition.

Motlojoa further proudly reminisced: “This season I played 16 matches; eight singles and eight doubles. “And I won seven singles and lost in one, and went on to win all the eight doubles. “That means overall this season I went 15-1, which is a really good way to perform and make a positive contribution to my team,” he said.

Motlojoa went to the US in 2018 after his elder brother Kukutla went there two years before as both were fortunate to get tennis scholarships to study in the US, while also playing tennis college. Kukutla, who is currently enrolling with the Southern Virginia University and is expected to graduate this week, was first enrolled with the New Mexico Military Institute when he first arrived in the US in 2016.

The two Motlojoa brothers were not the first to secure the US tennis scholarship. Before them it was Lebelo Mosehle, about two years before Kukutla. Mosehle, who was enrolled with the Seward County Community College, is now running his tennis academy in the US. Motlojoa (Nyathi) also started enrolling with the Seward County Community when he first arrived in the US, before he could enroll with the Luther College. Motlojoa brothers, together with Mosehle, represented Lesotho at some of the international junior tennis tournaments in the region and continent before relocating to the US.

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