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Tennis champ Lungile Ntulie: ‘I struggled in a lot of sports when I was younger’

By Jonathan Green
On October 6, 2021

At Grambling State where everybody is somebody and everybody comes from different backgrounds some want excellence everywhere they go. 

Lungile “Lulu” Ntuli represents that. 

Ntuli is a tennis player at Grambling State. For her, the road was long and hard to get here. 

Ntuli was born in England and raised there until the age of 9. 

At 10 years old she moved to South Africa. 

“I struggled in a lot of sports when I was younger,” Ntuli said. “My mom was in sport, it really came around nine when I left the United Kingdom. I remember watching Serena Willams in the Wimbledon. I probably only watched two minutes of it but it changed my life. I saw someone who looked like me who was doing exceptional things.” 

Ntuli said that at the age of 12 was when she started to take things very seriously and she took her first trip to America and she saw the culture of sports here. After that experience she said she was infatuated with it. That’s when she told her family what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. So she went back home, left school, got homeschooled and traveled the world and even took on jobs to make sure she could support herself. 

“Blessed with this purpose,” Ntuli said of that time in her life.  

It was very difficult when she was younger and she had to take on a lot of responsibility then the normal kid. But she knew she was meant for something bigger than herself and family. Remember kids younger than her in America with more experience than furthermore push her to be better herself. 

“I studied hard,  I trained hard even when I was alone. There were many days I was alone on the court. I knew what I wanted. I was seeing myself getting further up in the league,” Ntuli said.  

Ntuli ended up winning national tournaments and she was becoming highly touted. 

That’s when her family gave it notice and started believing in her. 

When times get hard she said she talks to her cousin and mother the most when times get hard and they help her stay focused and stay on track. 

Ntuli had other offers before she decided to go to Hillsborough Community College, a junior college located in Tampa Florida. 

She said it was an amazing experience and she won a state and national title there and she chose Grambling because she wanted to be around people who look like her and she wants to help turn around this tennis program.    

“I think for one there is a huge culture of individualism in America that is not that emphasized back in England and South Africa. And I think that everyone is given more opportunities In the states,” she said. 

Ntuli said her experience is different when comparing the differences inside and outside of America. 

Ntuli said she does miss her family across the ocean. She said she keeps in contact with her family, especially her mother. 

“At first my family weren’t  that supportive of my choice of career,” she said. “They found it to be quite Nish and quite difficult for my demographic, but as you know I got more experience and I was moving further getting more opportunities and then they became extremely supportive and they pushed for me to come to the states.” 

At the end of the day she wants to make them proud. 

 

 

Lungile “Lulu” Ntuli

 

 

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