Ben Luke made some adjustments in his forehand swing and saw his game take off during his freshman tennis season at Covenant College.
Luke, a former standout player at Greenwood High, had some growing pains during his first year at Covenant, but got off to a solid start overall. Still, he knew there was room for improvement in his game.
That adjustment in his forehand during the spring led to plenty of success in Luke’s season. He went 7-3 in USA South action and posted a 4-0 record at No. 2 singles, picking up big wins individually against Birmingham Southern and Oglethorpe. Luke’s performance helped him earn All-USA South West Division honorable mention accolades.
“I really wanted to work on my forehand at the beginning of the season because I had a really long backswing,” Luke said. “A lot of times, it made me late to hit the ball, so I really wanted to try and abbreviate my backswing. That ended up giving me more confidence to hit it with more power and just be more aggressive.”
Luke also teamed with Tyler Kelly to win eight doubles matches this season. The duo posted a 6-2 mark against the USA South.
Luke is no stranger to doubles success. He played next to Graeme Simpson at Greenwood High, and those two were a dominating force. Luke said it was a bit of a challenge to build chemistry with a new doubles partner, but he’s already enjoying playing with Kelly.
“That was a lot of fun because he’s actually my roommate, and we got along great,” Luke said. “At the beginning of the season, it is kind of challenging, having to get used to playing with a new person. But you get used to their style of play, and you get a feel for what they’re going to do. You can kind of understand their tennis instincts after you’ve played with them for a while.”
Luke, a former No. 1 at Greenwood High, primarily played at No. 3 singles in his freshman season, so one of his goals for next year is to keep climbing the ladder on the Covenant roster. He said he plans on playing in the ITA Summer Circuit events at Furman University and Georgia Gwinnett College later this summer to keep improving on his game.
“I’ve been working hard this summer trying to improve my game and improve the areas of my game that were weaker,” Luke said. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to play a higher position on the team. That’d be a big goal.”
Covenant College is situated on the border between Georgia and Tennessee and is about 15 minutes from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Luke said he enjoys the area’s atmosphere and feels like the school is a great fit for him.
“I really do like it,” Luke said. “It’s a small school, but it feels very much like a community. Everyone’s friendly and the school’s in a great location, just outside of downtown Chattanooga. It’s just a beautiful setting to go to school and play tennis. It’s been great.”