Ben achieves the American dream

Kate Withers

Traralgon tennis ace Ben Grumley has achieved what was not long ago just a pipe dream.

Earlier this month, on the back of a breakout year on the courts in 2019, the 18-year-old landed a coveted scholarship with William Woods University to play college tennis in the United States.

Grumley will call the state of Missouri home for the next four years as he juggles a major in exercise science with his on-court commitments as part of the class of 2024.

WWU was a identified as a dream destination early in the piece for the teen talent as he weighed up his options.

“I was pretty rapt when it happened. It’s pretty weird that the first offer you get in January is the one you sign with in March,” he said.

“WWU were in the top three because in their competition they’re the number eight school in the US for their program.

“I thought about the academic side of it a fair bit, probably the same amount as a I thought about the tennis aspect of it because that’s the reason you’re going to college.”

Grumley impressed recruiters with his commitment on and off the court and drew high praise from William Woods first-year head coach Chance Joost.

“Ben is another kid that’s going to fit right in with this team in all facets: on the court, in the classroom, and personality,” Joost said of the 18-year-old.

“He is also a highly-rated kid out of Australia, ranking in the top 130 in the country there, so we’re really excited about signing him.

“He rounds out possibly one of the best classes at William Woods. I look forward to what Ben and his teammates are going to achieve in the upcoming years.”

Grumley successfully completed the SATs – a form of standardised testing used for college admissions in the US – and surpassed his own expectations during Year 12.

A pair of singles and doubles wins at AMTs last year also helped the cause.

“I wasn’t expecting the results I got, but I was really happy with how it went,” he said.

“I was top 10 in Australia for my age and 130 in the men’s, so to have achieved by highest ranking and also some good results was the best I could’ve hoped for.”

Training has looked different of late due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Grumley is taking it all in his stride and is hopeful the freshmen orientation scheduled for mid-August will go ahead as planned.

“At the moment it’s keeping my fitness up, I’ve been doing a lot of running and physical stuff and shadow swings without a ball, which is a bit weird,” he said.

“I think I do have some more growing to come, I’ve got to grow into my hands a bit because they’re massive, but I’m really looking forward to getting into it.”