COLUMBUS, Ohio – All-American Francesca Di Lorenzo, two-time Big Ten Player of the Year with the Ohio State women’s tennis team, has moved into the professional ranks. The native of New Albany, Ohio, had two years of collegiate eligibility remaining.
Di Lorenzo paired with Miho Kowase to win the 2017 NCAA Doubles Championship, the first NCAA title in Buckeye women’s tennis history. A two-time singles All-American and a doubles All-American, Di Lorenzo was the 2016 Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Year and repeated as B1G Player of the Year in 2017. She won the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships title twice and claimed the ITA Riviera All-American Championships crown in Fall 2016. The 2017 Ohio State Female Athlete of the Year was ranked No. 1 during both her freshman and sophomore seasons and ended last year at the top of the ITA rankings.
“I can speak for everyone here at Ohio State in saying we wish nothing but the best for Francesca in this next step of her playing career,” Melissa Schaub, Ohio State’s head women’s tennis coach, said. “Francesca is everything you could ever want in a student-athlete representing your university. She was a great teammate, a tireless worker and an unmatched competitor. She is leaving Ohio State as the most successful player in program history and I am extremely proud to say that she was, and always will be, a BUCKEYE.”
During her two years at Ohio State, Di Lorenzo was 74-7 overall, ranking first in program history in singles winning percentage (.914). She also leads the program in career doubles winning percentage (55-7, .887). She was part of back-to-back Big Ten regular season and tournament championships. The Buckeyes advanced to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals for the first time in 2016 and surpassed that by reaching the semifinals in 2017.
A standout in the classroom as well, Di Lorenzo was a CoSIDA Academic All-American, Big Ten Distinguished Scholar, ITA All-Academic Team selection, Academic All-Big Ten honoree and a two-time Ohio State Scholar-Athlete.
Di Lorenzo, who reached a career-high world ranking of 289 in singles in July, is currently ranked No. 305. In doubles, she is currently No. 352 and was a personal-best No. 345 in October.
A letter from Francesca Di Lorenzo …
To The Ohio State University:
Four years ago I committed to The Ohio State University in hopes of furthering my education and tennis career. Now, in my junior year of college, I can undoubtedly say I made the best decision of my life. Having grown up in Ohio and being surrounded by Buckeyes, I think I always knew I would end up wearing the Scarlet and Gray. However, I never could have envisioned how much I would enjoy attending OSU and the relationships I would form throughout these past two years. From the tennis to the classes to the people and campus, Ohio State has provided me the opportunity to develop both as a tennis player and person.
My decision to leave school and pursue my dream of being a professional tennis player has been the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make. I could not figure out why it was so challenging to simply turn pro and commit to something I have been dreaming about since I was 10. After taking the fall off and thinking about this grueling decision nonstop every day, I was finally able to understand why it was so difficult for me. Ohio State has given me everything I could have possibly imagined. The coaches, team, trainers, support staff and friendships I have made here are what have made my experience so exceptional. Each person has helped me evolve into a better student and athlete and I hope to carry that into the professional tennis world. I am so grateful for everything this university has offered me and so bear with me as I try to thank a few of the many people that have impacted me these last couple years.
To the men’s and women’s tennis coaches: My game would not be where it is today without all of the work and time you have put into me. Thank you for dealing with my stubbornness as I know I am not the easiest person to work with. I’m thankful for your continuous support and countless extra hours spent on court with me. The team’s success is a direct reflection of the belief, work and passion you have had for our program.
To the team: I’ve been extremely lucky to be able to compete beside each one of you. I’m sure dealing with my excessive love for tennis, the safety of my racquets and my competitiveness has not been easy so thanks for not getting mad (or at least hiding it well). I think what I will miss most is competing alongside you all every day. All the trips, tournaments and team dinners will be the some of the best memories I hold. Accomplishing the goals WE set together each year has been one of the best, if not the best part, about coming to Ohio State.
John Macko: Thanks for keeping me eligible and dealing with all those classes I dropped freshmen year! All of your patience and weekly check ins/trivia with the team will be missed.
Katie Walker: Thank you for keeping me healthy and dealing with me coming to you each week with a potential new injury. Honestly don’t know what I would do without you and surely wouldn’t be able to play the way I do without your help.
Coach Andy Britton: Thank you for making me stronger, fitter and faster. Your positive attitude and dedication to getting us better is evident every day in the weight room and has allowed us to accomplish the goals set at the beginning of each year. All of the running and rowing was definitely worth it! Please save some cookies n cream bars for me though:)
To Gene and Sheila Smith and Mike Penner: Thank you for all of your support these past two years. I have never met people that care so much about a university and ALL of their student-athletes. Your support and attention to each one of us never goes unnoticed and we are extremely lucky to have you leading our athletics.
I have a family now at Ohio State and I will always be a Buckeye. I made the best decision of my life representing the Scarlet and Gray and I hope to have made another. Go Bucks forever.