By Catherine Giannis, special to USTA.com
Tyler Anson and Kyler Bender of the USTA Texas Jr. Team Tennis 14 & Under Advanced team have been the best of friends since before they could crawl, let alone swing a racquet. The 13-year-old teammates from the small town of Dripping Springs, Texas, were born less than two months apart -- Kyler on Feb. 2, Tyler on March 21. Their mothers taught at the same school and their families became good friends.
Their bond is also displayed on the court at the Jr. Team Tennis National Championships as doubles partners for the defending champion Austin Tennis Academy in Austin, Tex.
“We know each other so well. We can sense where we are on the court and what we are doing,” said Tyler.
“We have telepathic communication,” said Kyler, jokingly.
Tyler began playing tennis six years ago and then convinced his buddy, Kyler, to join the sport. The two started in their 10 and Under Tennis pilot program, along with fellow ATA teammate Georgia Wright. Their games quickly progressed and now the friends compete in both in USTA Jr. Team Tennis and USTA Junior Tournaments.
“The [Jr. Team Tennis] program is fantastic,” said Kurt Bender, Kyler’s father. “Kyler thrives in the team aspect of the program. He cheers everyone on.”
This is their first year playing together as a duo at the national level, with Tyler being part of the team that won it all in 2012. Currently, they are eighth graders at Lake Travis Middle School in Austin.
“We go to same school and tennis academy, we see each other almost every day,” said Tyler. “It’s awesome playing with my best friend.”
Their bond and love for the sport will continue to flourish as they plan to play on their high school tennis team together.
“Jr. Team Tennis taught us teamwork and to have a good time,” said Kyler. “If we win, all the better!”