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Wed, Sept. 18

Column: Some Q&A with the twin brothers of tennis

If you've played tennis around the Prescott area for any time at all you've probably run across a couple brothers - twins to be exact - that are school teachers and coaches in Humboldt Unified School District ... Matt and Andy Mraz.They've worked their way up through the years from the 3.5 level to 4.0, winning everything in their way - singles and doubles. No doubt both will soon start batting away with the 4.5's.They're great guys, superb tennis players and sportsmen. Here's a little more about them.Q. As twins, what's been the hardest and easiest part of playing doubles together?M: Over the years we have had our ups and downs, being so identical in our game play has sometimes had its problems. What we finally have settled with is the philosophy of just "doing what you can do". If your forehand is working, use it. If your lob is working, use it. Do what you can do to help win points.A: Being brothers we sometimes let are emotions come to the surface a lot more than if you were just playing with a friend. The matches that we struggle in the most are those in which our opponents get us at odds with each other.M: The easiest part is knowing each other's shots and abilities. I know my partner won't double fault or over-hit an easy put away. How many partners can say that?Q. What do you find enjoyable in tennis that maybe other sports don't offer?M: Playing team sports our entire lives you often have to rely on others to be successful. We both like the idea that in tennis it's you or you and your partner. When you don't do well you have to self evaluate and that can be difficult. Playing local team tennis is an enjoyable aspect of tennis that incorporates both the team and individual.Q. What would you ask the Bryan brothers (No. 1 in the world and twins), if you could?A: How would they deal with the situation in which one brother is having an off day? Do they stay positive or do their emotions get the better of them? Also, how do you come to an agreement on what strategy to use in certain situations, and have they always agreed on their overall strategy?Q. What kind of tennis event schedule do you have planned for this next year?A: The obvious events are the locals - Memorial Day, Labor Day and the County Tournament. We also plan many trips to Phoenix and Sedona. We also plan on making a return trip to southern California, traveling with as many local players as will go.Q. Do you find singles or doubles more enjoyable?M: We both agree that we couldn't imagine playing a tournament and not playing both singles and doubles. The one thing we don't enjoy doing is playing each other in singles.Q. Is tennis in the Prescott area ready to make a leap?A: We would love to see Prescott or Prescott Valley be on the forefront of building a public tennis center. Traveling and playing in many tournaments in the state, we see the potential for a great tennis complex in this area. Other Arizona communities like Glendale, Chandler and Surprise have all been able to make a public tennis center work for them, so why not here?Q. Your thoughts about what you find intriguing about playing tennis?M: Definitely the strategy aspect of the game. Trying to come up with the right strategy when playing a wide variety of players. Then implementing the plan to perfection.Q. Anything else you think the folks would like to hear?M: Being twins and doubles partners has given us some great memories. We find interesting players reaction after our matches. Most are bewildered by our game strategy and consistency. Not many doubles teams win matches without winning a point at the net. We have.A: Having played tennis in the Prescott/PV area for 20 years, we have made many friends and truly enjoyed the closeness of the tennis community. This area has some of the toughest competitors, but at the same time some of the nicest people on and off the court.(Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 30 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at choward4541@peoplpc.com)
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