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New Bulldog joins the team

At the end of last season, the Drake men’s tennis team lost two key players in Jonathan Hadash and Cesar Bracho. But the Bulldogs are looking to mitigate the loss of Hadash’s singles talents and Bracho’s doubles prowess with the addition of freshman Ben Lott of Newcastle, England.

Lott will be joining Ryan Drake, Robin Goodman and Ben Mullis as the fourth player from England on this year’s roster. And like the players before him, Lott has been on the tennis court training since a young age.

“I started playing tennis when I was three or four, since I could stand up and hold a racquet,” Lott said.

Lott grew up in a family of tennis players, with his parents playing recreationally and his siblings playing competitively. Lott’s older brother Matthew, who is now 28, was the first member of the family to take up tennis competitively. Matthew first picked up the racquet when he saw an advertisement in the local paper, and Lott’s sister, Jessica, did the same just a few years later. The two older Lott siblings were both top junior players in England, and Matthew even won ATP points in singles and doubles.

“Having both of them take tennis so seriously from a young age was a good motivator for me,” Lott said.

After a few years hitting against anyone who would humor him, Lott began practicing with his county team at the age of eight. England is split into counties, and most counties have their own tennis academies, and each county competes with each other in competition.

By the time he was 12, Lott had become a member of the elite Northumberland High Performance Center. The center at Northumberland is just one of 15 high performance centers throughout Great Britain, and to further his tennis career Lott began playing international tournaments once he began training at Northumberland.

Lott traveled throughout most of Europe to play tournaments, hopping from England to countries like Turkey, Finland, Denmark and Sweden, but his biggest win came much closer to home in Dublin, Ireland. It was there that Lott won an International Tennis Federation Tournament in the summer of 2010.

As Lott came closer to finishing his high school education in England, he decided that he wanted to pursue college opportunities in the United States.

“The standard of college tennis at the moment is incredibly high,” Lott said. “I knew I could get a great standard of tennis here and a great education.”

To get his name out to college coaches in the United States, Lott used the services of Tennis Smart, a company founded by a former British No. 1 doubles player who played college tennis in the States. Tennis Smart took Lott’s resume and got it into the hands of college coaches, with former Drake head coach Evan Austin taking notice. After Austin’s initial email, the two kept in contact for a number of months, and last November Lott committed to Drake over offers from schools like North Florida and Binghamton.

“I could tell that Drake was the right place for me,” Lott said. “I got good feedback from a lot of the guys, Robin, James and Ben mostly, and they spoke very highly of here.”

Lott arrived on campus a week before classes began to start training with the team, and the Bulldogs’ only freshman is looking forward to using his initial fall season to become accustomed to college tennis. Lott is hoping that he can crack the singles and doubles lineup once the spring season begins and make a lasting impact on the team.

“I’ll be using the fall to get on the same level as the rest of the guys,” Lott said. “Then I’ll just keep pushing on from there.”


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1 Comment

  1. thomas September 10, 2012

    Good luck this season and i hope i can introduce some players to your school in the future. Check out some great free tips on mental toughness at http://www.newtennisgeneration.wordpress.com

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