Kitambala bounces back to excel at WC

May 4—From the day she first stepped onto a tennis court, Hoziane Kitambala knew she was in love—and unlike the score of "love" in the sport, which means nothing, tennis means everything to her.

"I started playing at 9 years old. The day I was introduced to tennis by my uncle, I never wanted to leave the tennis court," she said. "Even when training was over, I continued playing either against the wall or with someone willing to play with me. From that moment, I knew tennis was my passion. That's why I kept playing and still play today."

And now, as a freshman at Weatherford College, she's playing quite successfully. As of this article, she played a significant role in the Coyotes' being ranked No. 8 in the nation, including a recent win over No. 7 Collin County.

From those early beginnings, Kitambala, from the African nation of Burundi, began to find success. Before long, she realized she had a particular skill that could take her places.

"The moment I started winning tournaments and playing against players that were older, tougher, and more experienced than me, but I still won against them, then I knew I could play at a higher level," she said.

She rose to be the second-ranked player in Burundi and one of the top players in Africa.

"I have traveled to many countries representing Burundi. I have had good results both nationally and internationally," she said.

However, the biggest challenge of her career might have been dropping in the rankings. But she fought off the negativity and focused on her new goal, winning consistently again.

"I decided to put everything on the side and focus on myself so I could improve and get back on the level I used to play," she said. "It took extra hard work; I had to believe even though I didn't feel like I did. I had to feel pain.

"Things just happened, and I started winning tough matches and making good results again. I have always heard people say that hard work pays off. I didn't know what they meant until it paid me."

So, she decided to take her game to the United States and compete at the collegiate level. It was, in fact, the first time she'd set foot on American soil.

"While researching about Weatherford College and reading about the kind of education provided made me interested, also finding out that there are international students at Weatherford College made me feel comfortable and believe that this is the right place for me," she said.

And yes, she plans to return to WC next season to continue her education and become a sports journalist.

"I would be more than happy to return here next season," she said. "I love being here. Weatherford College is a great place to be."

When she's not playing tennis or studying, her hobbies include dancing. She doesn't have a favorite movie, but she loves to read. Can you guess her favorite subject?

"I love to read anything that's about tennis," she said with a smile.