June 3, 2009
When Jean-Yves Aubone took his recruiting visit to Florida State, one thing more than any other caught his eye. Not the facilities or the team, it was a banner of two-time ACC Player of the Year and All-American Mat Cloer hanging in the Moore Athletic Center. From that moment on, the Miami, Fla., native knew that if he chose Florida State, he wanted his accomplishments hanging in the Great Hall.
The road to becoming "banner worthy" began when Aubone joined the Seminole team in 2006. It was clear from the beginning that he would be a major player for FSU, but the question was where? He played at least two matches at every position in singles (with the exception of No. 5), and at least five matches at all three doubles positions. After posting a 17-14 record in singles as a freshman playing up and down the lineup it was difficult to predict the leap Aubone would make his sophomore season.
After struggling with a modest 4-3 record in the fall of 2007, it looked like Aubone would spend another year playing a myriad of positions for Florida State. However, thanks to a tireless worth ethic on the court, the two-time All-ACC performer started quickly in the dual-match season winning eight out of his first nine matches, with seven of those victories coming at the No. 1 position. During the regular season, Aubone fell just five times and never to a player ranked outside the top 15 in the country. Desptie his success, Aubone did not earn his signature victory of the season until the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. It was then that he defeated Miami junior and fifth-ranked Daniel Vallverdu in three sets. He fought off two breaks of serve in the final set and pulled out his biggest triumph of his college career. The win, coupled with his countless hours on the practice courts catapulted him into the top 15 of the ITA rankings and helped earn Aubone a top 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament and All-American status. Even with a breakout performance in 2008, things were about to get better for the Seminole All-American.
Even before the start of his junior campaign, Aubone began making headlines. In a three week span during the summer he made the semifinals, finals and won an USTA Pro Circuit event. He jumped more than 700 positions in the world rankings and his performances helped earn him a wild card into qualifying for the U.S. Open where he won his first round match before losing to a player ranked in the top 150 in the world. Instead of resting on his accomplishments from the summer, he worked even harder to refine his already improving game. The extra time on the courts paid off as he continued his torrid play in the fall, advancing to the round of 16 at the All-American Championships and winning another Pro Circuit event. The junior became a stabilizing force at the No. 1 position for the Garnet and Gold in the spring, notching a victory against the second-ranked player in the country and rolling through the ACC season with just one defeat. His play earned him the highest honor in the conference when the coaches voted him ACC Player of the Year. That honor was soon followed by another All-American award making him the first player to earn All-American honors twice in his career at FSU.
With one more year remaining as a Seminole, Aubone will most likely enter his final season ranked in the top 10 in the nation, and he is currently the highest ranked collegiate player in the ATP World Rankings (484th). With an opportunity to become the greatest player in the history of the program, one thing is for certain: the next set of tennis recruits will be looking up at his banner in the Moore Athletic Center in 2009-10 hoping to one day to play just like him.