The Texas A&M men’s tennis team opens play Friday at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle. Junior Kevin Lam will not be in the Aggie lineup, but he will be ready just as he was five days earlier when he was called on against No. 24 Texas Tech.
With No. 6 A&M’s two top players out, the second of which had to bow out after doubles, Lam moved into the No. 6 [final] singles line and as sports goes the balance of the match fell on his racket.
Lam lost the first set, but this was his moment and he wasn’t going to be deterred.
“After the first set I told myself now it’s a whole new set, a whole new set, so I just came back and kept fighting and I told myself you’ve trained for this, this is the moment right here to shine,” Lam said.
Lam bounced back in the second set and by the time he was through contemplating how he would attack a deciding set 3 all but one of his teammates had finished and was hanging on every point. He got an early break, but handed it back immediately. He then broke for a second and third time, the last giving A&M a a 4-3 victory and setting off a celebration usually reserved for the likes of top seniors Arthur Rinderknech, Jordi Arconada and AJ Catanzariti.
“It was an unbelievable feeling, and I am actually in shock right now,” Lam said after everything had calmed. “Like this is this a dream or something. This is special moment for me.”
Lam had won 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in a match he had no idea he would be playing in until moments before it started.
“All credit to him because he kept believing he could stay in that match and kept believing he could win,” A&M coach Steve Denton said. “[He] got his opportunity out there today and he proved he could get it done for us and it’s a great team win for us.”
For someone whose only matches in his first two years were primarily against lesser teams, it was the highlight of Lam’s time at A&M. But as most confident athletes do, Lam took it one step further.
“This is just the start,” he said. “There is more to come.”