Weekend Bear Sports

Sophomore John Watts captured Washington University’s first individual men’s tennis national championship with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Andy Murray of Gustavus Adolphus College in the finals of 2007 Division III Wilson/ITA National Small College Championships on Oct. 13 in Mobile, Ala.

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“I got down 5-1 in the first set and I rallied back to make it close. Even though I did lost the first set, I was still very confident,” said Watts. “In the second and third sets, I tried to make the points longer and be more patient. It worked well, and I put more points together in the final two sets. Winning a national championship is awesome, and great for Washington University.”

Watts, who finished third last year at the ITA Championships in October and second at the NCAA Championships in May, extended his winning streak to 13 matches and improved his overall record to 45-5 in two seasons on the Danforth Campus.

“There’s no doubt he changed his game plan towards the end of the first set,” said Washington University head coach Roger Follmer. “He learned last year from making the finals to be more aggressive and stay inside the baseline. He is getting better at that, and dictating play. John worked at his game this summer, and gets pushed each day in practice.”

Watts advanced to participate in the ITA “Super Bowl” of Small College Tennis, but fell to the Division II champion, Alex Grubin of Concordia, 6-2, 6-2.