ALL ABOUT TENNIS JUNIOR PROFILE
The Stelses (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
USTA Southwest | January 31, 2018
Having a blood relation who shares your tennis experiences, love for the game, equipment and can someday possibly give you a ride to the tennis courts is an advantage not all of us get in our tennis careers. But it sure makes things a lot easier and more fun.
Take the Stelses of Scottsdale, Arizona, Cole and Hailey. This tennis-playing brother-sister combo has been at this sport together since they were knee-high to a net strap, almost always showing up as a pair everywhere they go.
Both siblings are ranked inside the Top 10 currently in their respective Southwest age divisions (Cole 14 and under Boys, Hailey 16 & under Girls).
Brother and sister have tennis in their DNA, as they were handed down the love of the sport from their mother Julie, an avid player and fan of the sport, and frequent USTA League player who has qualified for several League National Championships. ADVERTISEMENT Both siblings were introduced to the sport early, and both Stelses were among the first-ever competitors in red ball junior tournaments in the Phoenix metro area.
The benefit of an always-capable tennis partner at the ready is just one of the many things the Stelses have in common, besides their snow white blonde hair, lethal tennis strokes, and sense of humor they each bring to the court.
We recently exchanged a little banter with this brother-sister duo to see what it's like to have a sibling who loves the game as equally as they do, about their potential as future mixed partners, and various other questions about their tennis journey together.
USTASW: How did you guys both get started out in tennis?
Hailey Stelse: My Mom, Cole and I played together a lot when we were little. I really enjoyed playing together as a family.
Cole Stelse: I remember having a mini-net in our cul-de-sac and my mom tossing me balls.
USTASW: What has been your best tournament experience since you started competing?
HS: I have always loved playing Zonals. I enjoy hanging out with teammates and cheering them on.
CS: My favorite tournament so far has been National Indoors. I really enjoyed playing indoor tennis because we don’t have indoor courts in Arizona….and they had the best goodie bag!
USTASW: What was your very first USTA tournament? How old were you? How did you feel approaching the match?
HS: My first tournament was the very first red ball tournament in the Southwest Section when I was seven years old. I was really little but I but I remember being excited to compete.
CS: I played a red ball tournament too when I was seven. I remember being excited to be able to play like all Hailey’s friends I had been watching.
USTASW: What is your ultimate goal with tennis?
HS: My ultimate goal is to play college tennis at a great school.
CS: I would like to play college tennis too, it would be really cool to win a national championship.
What do you most like to do when you're not playing tennis?
HS: When I’m not at tennis I am doing homework. If I have any spare time, I like to take different classes at the gym, go paintballing or hang out with friends.
CS: I love to play basketball. When I am not playing tennis I am usually shooting hoops or playing pick-up games with friends.
USTASW: Who is your favorite tennis professional? What would you do if you were to meet them?
HS: I have always admired Venus Williams. I love the way she plays and how resilient she is. I don’t know what I’d ask her, I stood right next to her in Indian Wells and I panicked!
CS: My favorite tennis professional is Andy Murray. If I were to meet him, I would ask him how he manages his injuries and I would also ask if we could hit.
USTASW: How often do you play tennis each week and what do you do to try to keep your practices fun?
HS: I play six days a week. To keep practice fun I usually just make fun of my brother.
CS: I play between five and six days a week. I am not sure my coaches like it but to make practice fun I try to hit crazy angles and drop shots.
USTASW: What's been your best or favorite tennis moment so far in your young career?
HS: My favorite tennis moment so far was practicing and competing on clay in Florida last summer. I didn’t expect to like playing on clay so much!
CS: My favorite tennis moment so far was seeing the USTA National Campus. I was inspired by the tennis atmosphere the USTA has created, it is amazing.
USTASW: Do you have any odd quirks or rituals on the court, like bouncing a ball five times before a serve or not walking on the lines?
HS: I don’t have any right now! But maybe I should? Suggestions?
CS: Nothing too crazy yet, I just bounce the ball four times before serving.
USTASW: Do you like to practice with your sibling or do you get annoyed and argue?
HS: We have good days and bad. Sometimes we work great together and other days Cole might fire a ball at my head.
CS: I like practicing with Hailey. She inspires me to want to be better and work hard. And….she always makes me laugh.
USTASW: Have you enjoyed the times when you have played mixed doubles together in tournaments?
HS: Playing together is super fun for us. I make Cole play every chance we get.
CS: Hailey and I have some great memories together. We laugh a lot when we play. Hailey usually makes me cover my side and her side too, I guess because she’s the oldest.
USTASW: Have you considered/will you consider playing in any National brother-sister doubles tournaments?
HS: For Sure! I hope we can play together a lot as we get older. I feel like tennis has made us closer as brother and sister.
CS: We talk about playing National brother-sister tournaments someday when we have more time. We would have a blast. And we would laugh, A LOT.
THE STELSE FILE
*Both Cole and Hailey were among the first red-ball tournament competitors in the Phoenix metropolitan area
* Hailey helped Desert Mountain win girls' state team title as a freshman in 2017
* Cole has been selected for numerous USTA Player Development Campus since he was seven years old and is one of the better youth prospects in his age group.
* Cole is currently No. 2 in the Southwest in Boys' 14s, Hailey is No. 8 in Girls' 16s
ALL ABOUT TENNIS has been a proud and longtime sponsor of USTA Southwest tennis programs, and is the largest retail tennis store in the Southwest. Open since 1992, the store is run, managed and owned by a tennis playing family.
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