“We breezed through the regular season and I think we all knew we were good,” said James, whose team won the 8.0 USTA League Senior Mixed Doubles National Championship in early April. “But you’re never positive. To be honest, I think we surprised ourselves a little bit.”
So surprised, in fact, that it even cost one team member his airfare.
“One of our guys, Holger Mackentun, planned on flying home on Sunday – the same day as the finals,” James said. “After we made the finals, he decided to just give up his ticket and stay. He stayed for the final and played, and I thought that was pretty cool.”
All travel troubles aside, the Middle States team used a mix of clutch performances in down-to-the-wire matches to pull out the title. Each match ended 2-1 and went down to the final minutes under the hot, San Antonio sun.
“The first match, we had all three courts come down to super-tiebreakers,” James said. “Each of the five matches truly came down to the end.”
James credited the team for its dedication and attitude throughout the season. And in a team-oriented manner, all 12 players who traveled to Texas played during the championships. They came together to beat a group that didn’t have to travel much – USTA Texas – in the final.
“It felt great and we were all really excited,” James said. “We had 12 people who traveled for it. All 12 people played and it was a great time for the team.”
For more information on USTA Leagues, visit the Middle States website: www.PlayTennisWithUs.com.