John Watts: Male Athlete of the Week
Hometown: Marietta, Ga.
Majors: Systems science and engineering, economics
Senior John Watts stormed through the 2009 Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Central Singles Championship, winning seven straight matches this past weekend on the way to capturing the singles championship. The title was his fourth straight, and Watts is this week’s male Athlete of the Week.
Student Life: You’ve had many wins, including the 2008 Division III National Championship and the 2007 Division III Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Small College Singles Championship. What was your favorite win, and why?
John Watts: My favorite one would have to be my sophomore year. It was the national championship match against Emory [University]. I was playing doubles at the time with Nirmal Choradia, who graduated last year. It set the tone for the entire match, the national championship. We were up 2-1 in doubles, and that made a real big difference for everyone in singles match. That’s my favorite because of the magnitude of the event, and it was a real big turner, and we barely pulled it out.
SL: What did winning the ITA Central Regional mean to you?
JW: The main part is if you win, you get to advance to the Small College Nationals. That tournament is really fun to play. That’s really where I can tell how I’m doing against the top competition of the nation.
SL: What allows you to succeed on the tennis court?
JW: The main thing is to take every match one at a time. This past weekend, I ended up playing seven singles matches. I think part of it was just on the Friday and the Saturday just to not think ahead to the finals. Just to think I’m in the round of 64. I have to focus on my one match right now. Even though it’s a very big tournament, very long tournament, just to stay focused on each individual match at a time. Hopefully, things will work out and you’ll get to where you want to be.
SL: When did you pick up tennis?
JW: I was actually a big baseball player for most of my youth. I pretty much played that up until high school. I picked up tennis during my high school years. I really enjoy the atmosphere and the travel.
SL: Who was your tennis idol growing up?
JW: I really enjoyed watching Pete Sampras when I was younger. He’s got a big serve and volley. He’s got a very good serve and very good forehand. My game is pretty much the exact opposite of him. As much as I may have tried to imitate him or pretend to be him, I didn’t do that very well. He was definitely one of my favorites growing up.
SL: What’s your style of play?
JW: I tend to stay at the baseline and take what my opponent gives me. I play more consistent and calm and very, very patient and not very aggressive compared to other players at my level.
SL:What’s next for the men’s tennis team?
JW: We have the Division III Indoor National Championships at the end of February. Last year we got second in that tournament. This year we’re shooting for even higher.