25K Women's Champion Gets Direct Accept Wild Card into WTA 250 ATX Open - February 24-March 3, 2024

Longhorns Enjoy Home-Court Advantage


Texas Longhorn roots are deep at the Greenview Development & Majestic Realty Men’s Pro Tennis Open. For one thing, the event is being played at the university’s Texas Tennis Center. No wonder four current Longhorns and two alums were in qualifying and the main draw.

UT alum Colin Markes, pictured above, has been playing tennis around the world. So this week he says he is especially happy to be back home in Austin as the tournament’s No. 5 seed. Markes, 25, grew up in the Austin suburb of Round Rock and graduated from the University of Texas in 2019, when he was part of the 2019 NCAA national championship winning team.

“(Winning the title) motivated me a lot because I didn’t know if I was going to play professional tennis,” Markes said after winning his first-round match on Wednesday. “After that year, I made up my mind that I wanted to play a little bit of pro tennis.”

After reaching a M15 semifinal in Greece in May and a M15 final in Tunisia in September, Markes is a career-high No. 615 in the ATP rankings.

“It’s a lot of traveling, so it’s tough to stay motivated all the time,” he said. “I try to find some type of joy on the tennis court every day. It may be making a good practice plan to where you’re not bored every time you go to the court or being around friends that you can travel with.”

Markes (pronounced MARK-iss) is enjoying the break from traveling and being back in Austin, his home base.

“I get to sleep in my own bed, and it’s always a plus playing around family, friends, old teammates and coaches,” Markes said. “Most of the time on the tours you’re playing in front of a few people and it can get a little bit lonely and hard to energize yourself on the court. (Here) I want to do well and succeed in front of these people that I love.”

The former Longhorn also feels that he can use knowing the courts at the Texas Tennis Center to his advantage this week. The courts opened in January of 2019 and Markes spent his senior season practicing and playing matches on them.

“I think just being familiar with the facility and everything else, and having people I know around me is definitely a bit of an advantage,” Markes said.

Markes defeated Gabriel Evans of San Antonio, 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-1, to advance to the second round against Alex Kuperstein.

“I think I started pretty slow,” Markes said, “but the second and third set I picked things up, and it was good consistency for me.”

Also winning on Monday were current Longhorns Siem Woldeab and Micah Braswell and former Longhorn Christian Sigsgaard, who was also on the 2019 championship team.

By Lindsey Plotkin /Photo by Ryan Cerna