Zimbabwe native and now Cal Poly tennis star continues to shine on the court

Kimberley Bhunu
Posted at 11:33 AM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 14:33:15-05

Sophomore Cal Poly tennis player and Zimbabwe native Kimberly Bhunu is coming off of a season-ending injury tearing her ACL and meniscus her freshman season, but now she's feeling better than ever.

"That was a really long road. Now I feel like I'm back stronger, I feel more fit than I was before and my game has changed. I'm more mentally strong, although it was unfortunate to go through that process I feel like I came back stronger and more appreciative of the sport," Bhunu said.

But the journey to getting to the central coast was a lot of hard work and dedication... she spent her high school years in France at Mouratoglou Tennis Academy that Serena William's coach Patrick Mouratoglou owns

"I needed to play in more competitive matches because it wasn't as high as a level in Zimbabwe, they gave me a partial scholarship so I ended up going there when I was 14."

So at just 14 years old, Bhunu left her life in Africa and went 7,328 miles away to pursue her passion and to become a better tennis player.

"I didn't appreciate home as much until I went there. That was one thing, it was hard to leave home but it was a really good experience."

Now even further away from home at Cal Poly, Bhunu says it wasn't easy coming to San Luis Obispo.

"Coming here was a completely different atmosphere, I have no relatives close by. it was hard my freshman year... it was a huge culture shock because SLO isn't really diverse. It gets really hard not having your family there to go to matches."

After over 350 days of waiting until the 2021 season, she says the goal of the team this year is to win the conference and make the NCAA tournament.
"That's what we've been working for, I think we have a really good team this year and dynamic. I hope we can make it to the NCAA's," Bhunu added.