Playing with your sibling on the same team isn't always the easiest thing to do. Before their days with the Wylie high school tennis team, senior Rahil Patel, and sophomore Nital Patel had their share of struggles together when they first joined forces on the tennis court in elementary school.
“We just got mad at each other all the time,” says the younger Nital. “Didn’t really care about winning just got up at one another. Then it changed to like ‘oh we can win now’ We can start winning some matches.”
“At first it was kinda bumpy,” adds the older Rahil. “You’re getting mad. You’re just expecting more out of each other, but I think last year was a good learning experience. Now we when it’s okay to push each other, when to lay off.”
Rahil referred to last years early exit in the 2011 state tournament. The Patels were ousted in the first round of the boys doubles draw.
They enter the 2012 state tournament as the champs of boys doubles in region 1-3A.
Head coach Kathryn Gilreath has watched the Patel’s chemistry on the court improve immensely within the last year.
"Nital's the one that’s gonna bring more attitude to the court.,” says Gilreath. “Rahil’s gonna be more steady and more focused. I think that’s really good to have that in a doubles combination for their personalities not to be the same. I think they feed off each other more.”
Both Rahil and Nital are realizing this tournament isn’t just their last shot at a state title together. With Rahil set to attend Texas A&M and no plans of playing tennis. This may very well be the last time they compete together in any competition for the rest of their lives.
“This past week will probably be my brothers last practices coming up, and then I don’t know what it’s gonna be like when we get up there at the finals of state,” says Nital. “That last match is gonna be weird.”
Big brother Rahil, who has been apart of four straight state championships in team tennis, reflected on his last chance for a doubles title with his younger brother.
“Last year was my first time to make it out of the region and get to state,” says Rahil. “This year I feel I’m more experienced and he made it too in his first year so I think we can handle the nerves a little better.”
Wylie is sending a total of 12 players to this year's state tennis tournament in College Station at the Mitchell Tennis center on the campus of Texas A&M, April 29-30.
Joining Rahil and Nital in college station is defending boys singles champ Rayce Roberson, defending girls singles champ Delaney Schroeder, Shelby Corn and Brittany Smyser, girls' double (1st in region 1-3a); Sabra Zullo and Rachel McMillan (1st in region 1-3a), girls' doubles (2nd in region 1-3a); Wyatt Newcomb and Brendan Thompson, boys' doubles (2nd in region 1-3a); Weston Ueckert and Whitney Frazier, mixed doubles.