Feb. 14, 2011
By Matt Winkeljohn
Some great feedback rolled in from the men’s tennis team’s 4-3 win over Georgia Saturday, when the Yellow Jackets beat the Bulldogs for the first time since 1988 (for sake of reference, the Tech football team has beaten the Georgia football team six times in that span).
Senior Dean O’Brien fought off two match points after trailing 3-5 in the third and deciding set at No. 6 singles , and went on to win the clinching set in a tiebreaker. That made quite a few folks happy.
See below in a few letters:
As a former three year teammate of [men’s coach Kenny Thorne . . . and his doubles partner one year] at GT, I have to say that was the most exciting match I have ever seen or been a part of! I was there the entire time and felt drained watching it was so nerve racking. It was probably easier on the players! You really did a good job relaying what it was like. I was still so “jittery” [Sunday] morning I had to go down to the courts again today to watch the women’s team play. And I only get to a match or two a year. When I got to the courts, all the men’s team was there and several of the ‘has-beens’ too.
I asked them if they stayed up late into the night . . . and most did. But they were still so keyed up that they had to come watch the women play, just to hang out at the courts, soak it all in, and talk about it. By the end of the women’s match several were bemoaning the fact that they had tests and lab projects due, and none of them had done any homework all weekend. I’m sure they’ll manage!
I can only remember being so keyed up after a handful of big match victories when I actually played. The next day I felt like I was walking on Cloud Nine. It was bizarre but that was what I felt like today. And I didn’t even play in the match! You see tennis is big in Atlanta. ALTA has 80,000 members — the biggest tennis league in the world, by far (double, I think). At that match [Saturday], I saw a former UGA player whom I had played in college. And I still get into marathon matches with him in ALTA now. All of us are attached for life.
On UGA’s 1985 and 1987 NCAA championship teams, three of their players were my 10-&-under and 12-&-under doubles partners. And I still play with and against some of them today. And I never lost a dual match against UGA when I was in college. They always know, in the back of their mind, that I beat them at the highest level of competition they would ever play!
So that is why I was so jittery. Because I will see those old UGA players on a tennis court sometime soon. And the kids that just won [Saturday] will be doing the same over the rest of their lives with the knowledge that they were the better team [Saturday]. And forever (or it lasts forever). They will never forget!
–Chris C. Maier
I just got through reading your article about the match [Saturday] and I’m teary eyed. My 16-year-old son and I were there, and it was the best tennis match I’ve ever seen. My son and I both play tennis and my son has gone to the GT summer tennis camps for several years.
We’ve been able to get to know the guys on the team, and they are the nicest group of guys who are so humble, kind, polite and awesome role models. I loved your article!!! We had a blast [Sunday]! I was sweating from all of my cheering! I even led the GT fans in one round of the Yellow-Jackets cheer.
I really enjoyed your [Monday] article on our [women’s] tennis coach, Bryan Shelton. I am going to read it to my 11-year-old granddaughter. I think that it could help anyone realize a better way to look at their progress.
–William F. Potter, Jr.