Men's Tennis: Longhorns, Mee shine in Classic finale
Bruce Brown, The Advertiser, Sept. 25, 2017
John Mee finished what he started.
The Texas Longhorn senior defeated teammate Leonardo Telles 6-3, 6-3 in Sunday's finals of the John Breaux Tennis Classic at UL's Cajun Courts, making good on a vow to improve upon his 2016 showing in the event.
“Last year, I lost to a good player from Southern Cal, and I wanted to come back stronger this year,” Mee said. “Because of last year, it meant that much more to me to win today.”
Mee won with steady shots, while Telles made enough critical errors to turn the tide.
“When I'm really on my game, I'm consistent and solid from the back,” Mee said. “I'm able to be consistently aggressive. I knew he would go for it too much. I managed to keep it up throughout the match.”
As Texas teammates, the two foes were familiar with the other's game and style. What may have surprised Telles was the intensity level of the match.
“He's been here (UT) for 2 ½ years, and we practice against each other a lot, so I'm very familiar with his game,” Mee said. “But we had never played in a tournament, so he hadn't seen the competitive edge I get.”
Mee broke through for a 3-1 lead in the first set on the way to 6-3. The match then turned on three straight deuce games that set the tone for victory.
After holding at love to get to 1-1, Mee broke Telles in the next game, rallying from 40-15 down to deuce and then watching Telles send a put-away volley long.
Same scenario in reverse in the next game, 40-15 to deuce with Mee serving, and this time Telles was deep with a groundstroke to make it 3-1, Mee.
Mee sent a shot wide on the third deuce game, allowing Telles to hold, but soon served to 5-3 with a defining ace and broke Telles for the victory.“On the deuce points, especially on his serve, I knew he would want to go bigger,” Mee said. “So my goal was just to get anything back at all times. Just somehow get the racquet on it and get it back.
“That was my biggest goal. My second was to be a little more aggressive.”
In a test of evenly matched talent, that edge made the difference.
Telles salvaged his day by teaming with Rodrigo Banzer for a 6-3 victory over Texas Tech's Artem Kapshuk and Connor Curry in the championship doubles finals.
Earlier on Sunday, Colin Markes of Texas topped LSU's Nikola Samardzic 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 in the Flight 2 singles finals. Throw in Mee and Markes winning the consolation doubles crown, and it was a banner weekend for the Longhorns.
“The team is very strong,” Mee said. “It was great to see us do that well so early. And, we go at it even harder in the spring, so we're very excited.”
“It's a phenomenal tournament,” Texas coach Michael Center said. “We really enjoyed it. The finals was very exciting. We couldn't be happier. We'll come back as long as you invite us.”
Mee won't be back, but he set a standard for Telles and other Longhorns to aim for in the future.