Sportsmanship can be reflected in many ways, most of them subtle and often unnoticed – a benefit of the doubt, a friendly handshake, an apologetic wave, or even something as simple as punctuality. In the case of Christian Settles, an 18-year old playing in his final junior-level tournament, pure sportsmanship was on display.
At the 116th SCTA Junior Sectionals in Fountain Valley, Settles notched two wins in the Boys 18s singles qualifying rounds to advance into the main draw. With a loss in the Round of 64, he shifted to the consolation bracket, and in his first match Settles was in full control. Having secured the first set, Settles broke out to a quick lead and commanded the second set at 5-1, on his way to victory and into the next round.
But the young man from Claremont knew that this was his last day on court. A game away from victory, Settles conceded the match.
“I played the match knowing I wasn’t going to be able to play the next round if I won,” Settles recalls. Due to his schedule, he was to leave Sectionals later that night. Earning the victory would mean he would default the following match, but giving up his current match with Temecula’s Donovan Livov would allow Livov to move on and play more tennis.
“He was pretty confused at first,” Settles says of his unsuspecting opponent. “I explained that I was leaving that night and wouldn’t be able to play and I’d rather give him a chance. I wanted to give my opponent a chance to win.”
Livov played 34 more games, winning his second round consolation match convincingly before bowing out in his subsequent match.
Settles, on the other hand, is on the verge of turning 19 years old and was wrapping up his junior tennis career with an impressive act of sportsmanship. He’ll play for Trinity University in San Antonio beginning this fall.
“Ultimately,” Settles says, “I chose to do it because I knew if I was in his position, I would appreciate it.”
Find complete results from Junior Sectionals here.
Check out SCTA’s “Sportsmanship Is…” excerpts at our YouTube page.