The terms "doubles" and "sets" come as second nature to many fans in the tennis world.
For one team playing on the 14U Intermediate level, however, these terms possess an entirely different meaning.
The USTA Missouri Valley Kansas City Nationals team, for instance, boasts two sets of siblings. Brooke and Blake Thomas Barnard are brother and sister twins who have similar mannerisms both on and off the court. Coincidentally, brother duo Jacob Earl and Louis George Reinmiller, also on the same team, share more than just a last name – and consider themselves to be similar to the world’s top doubles team - Bob and Mike Bryan.
When asked about the strengths and weaknesses of playing with a sibling, Blake gave some perspective. "One of the major challenges we face as siblings is that we have to share our experiences and most importantly, our achievements; sometimes, this can be a lot of pressure, especially when you are competitive" says Blake, playing his first year at the Jr. Team Tennis National Championships.
Brooke Barnard, also an avid piano player, is playing in the Missouri Class 2 State Championships in Springfield, Missouri this weekend – and is missing the chance to play with her team. "Even though she cannot be with us here today, Brooke has helped support us along the way. For that reason alone, it’s incredibly hard to play without her here."
Regardless, the team knows the show must go on - and it did. In the first day of round robin play at the 2010 USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships, the team won their first match and lost the second, yet they did not lose momentum.
"It’s always hard to play without your better half around. I just think that this time around, the fact that one of our teammates is not here is giving us the motivation to win," Louis says.
"Maybe we’ll bring home the title for Brooke!" he exclaimed.
So don’t let the hot Arizona sun fool you into seeing double throughout the weekend; this year’s JTT National Championships are truly a family affair.