When playing doubles in tennis, it’s vital for partners to have chemistry and work well together. For James Martell, he didn’t have to search hard, as he is playing with his high school partner and brother, Mitch.
Mitch and James Martell are two out of three of the Martell triplets, and both play tennis at Tyler Junior College. While the other brother doesn’t play, these two have been sharing the court since their high school days at Robert E. Lee in Tyler.
“They both had other things in mind. Mitch came to TJC two years ago and redshirted his first year. James had other plans but was put in a position where he wanted to come and play for us,” Coach Dash Connell said on how the brothers came to TJC.
In James’s case, “other plans” included the Airforce Academy.
“At one point, I decided I wanted to pursue a different path, and not go down the Military route,” James said on his choice to leave the Airforce. “It was fun; I don’t regret doing that at all.”
Coach Connell was hesitant at first to bring on James as a part of the Apache tennis team where his brother played.
“This summer when I was first talking to James about coming on the team, I had mixed emotions. I knew he was from the area and was good, but at the same time, he had a brother on the team, so I wasn’t sure if it would be a motivator or a distraction. It’s turned out a lot better than I had thought,” Coach Connell said.
“It’s good to always have someone there that you’ve been playing with your whole life,” Mitch said on playing with his brother.
“When worst comes to worst, you still have your brother,” James said.
The duo hasn’t always been this way, though. In high school, they may have shared a court, but the two couldn’t have been more opposite.
“Even though we were on a team together, there were quite a number of fights,” Mitch said.
“It took winning state to get back together,” James said on his strained relationship with his sibling.
Although Mitch and James play doubles together, they don’t plan on transferring to the same university.
Mitch plays as a freshman but is a year ahead of James school wise. He hopes to get picked up by a university this year.
James doesn’t want to hold Mitch back with the hopes of both of them getting offered to the same school, so he plans to stay at TJC next season and see what offers come his way.
These two can be seen in action at 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. on March 29 or 11 A.M. on March 30 at JoAnn Medlock Murphy Tennis Center.