Hartford, Conn. - Five years old. That's when Trinity College men's tennis tri-captain Rutendo Matingo started his career on the court. Growing up in Zimbabwe, Matingo fell in love with the game as a young child. He played for his tennis team in his home country, and was ranked as the top male tennis player in Zimbabwe at age 13. He later made the huge move to the United States at age 15 to attend boarding school.
Matingo was considering a number of New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) schools but did not have Trinity on his radar until Paul Assaiante, Trinity's coach at the time, invited him to visit the campus. Needless to say, Matingo immediately fell in love with the College. He said, "I was considering other NESCAC colleges, but when I visited Trinity that's the school that really sold me."
Matingo has compiled an impressive career to date for Trinity. He made an impact on the team immediately as a freshman when he won 13 matches in singles play, eight of which came in dual matches, and also led the squad in doubles wins and doubles winning percentage along with his partner, Ilya Levin. As a sophomore, Matingo finished third on the team in singles wins after going 12-7 for the year and once again shined in doubles play. Last season, he earned NESCAC All-Academic distinction for the first time in his career and won sevendual-match doubles matches to go along with five singles wins.
In Matingo's junior season with the Bantams, Assaiante retired from coaching tennis at Trinity, and the Bantams went through a coaching change when 2014-15 assistant Lori Shulman was elevated to the head position for both men'sand women's tennis. Matingo said, "It wasn't a huge adjustment because we already had gotten to know Coach Shulman for over a year. It is different to see the different perspectives of a male and a female coach, but Lori has done a great job. It's a continuation of the same team, same sport, just a different coach."
Coach Shulman echoed similar kind words about about Matingo. "It has been a pleasure to coach Rutendo for the past two years and watch him grow, both on and off the tennis court. He has he made huge strides with his game, and he has developed into a strong leader for our team this year as a captain. He leads by example every day through his dedication to the program, strong work ethic at practice and his competitive spirit during matches."
Shulman is also excited about what Matingo can do during his final season at Trinity. "Rutendo has a big game and for the past few years he has worked hard at becoming both a smarter tennis player, as well as a more mentally-tough competitor. He will be up against some of the best players in the country in the NESCAC and I am looking forward to watching him rise to the challenge this spring."
Matingo currently has a leg injury, but he is looking forward to his last spring season at Trinity while going through some rehabilitation. "I just want to have as much fun as possible. The obvious goal is to win every match, but I really want to have fun. This year as a captain, I want to make sure I set a good example and to be considered a good leader."
Regarding his plans after graduation, Matingo is considering going into medical device marketing. He has considered Trinity to be the best four years of his life so far, and has made some of the best memories. "I have never been disappointed. I have made some of my best friends here," he says. "The fact that I was lucky enough to go across the ocean and make these memories has been awesome."
written by Taylor Foy '20