The kinship between brothers is never tested quite as much as when sports are involved.
And the Saleems are no different.
Mohammed and Yusef Saleem will begin the Division I state doubles trek Friday with two very different styles that might drive each other crazy, but serves them well.
“They get along pretty well, but Yusef gets frustrated sometimes when Mo has his breakdowns,” Desert Vista boys coach Wayne Brimley said. “Yusef is more of a perfectionist where Mo is more of risk taker.”
The tandem will get its chance to see how well they stack up against the rest of the state when action begins at Indian School Park.
“We have a chance if we play well,” said Yusef, a freshman. “We played a lot in the last year and we can use that experience. We have different styles but it mixes well.”
Mohammed, a senior, could have gone the singles route, but felt he had a shot to go deeper in the doubles tournament. He admits there is a part of him that would have liked another shot at winning a singles state title as his brother, Ahmad, did in 2010.
“Those were big shoes to fill,” he said. “I made it far (three wins) last year and needed to get better. I have, but I think we (as a doubles team) can do something special. We have good draw and it was the right decision.”
Playing with your sibling allows them to be a little more vocal when the match isn’t going right.
“I feel more comfortable with him because we know each other’s game so well after playing as a family for so long,” Mohammed said. “I’m more comfortable talking (candidly) with Yusef if I have to.”
The Mountain Pointe duo of Jonah Matanky and David Battock hope things go smoothly as well after making the finals of the All-City event two weeks ago.
If things go well in the first round against the tandem from Lake Havasu they will find a familiar face waiting for them in the second round as Sam Wang — a former Pride player who transferred before last season — and his Hamilton partner, Mac Howell, as the third seed.
“It would be an interesting match,” Pride coach Larry Holmes said. “It might be a little awkward but we just have to go out and play our best match. It’s a part of sports.”
The singles entrants for Pride are No. 1 Monty Roth and the Thunder’s No. 3 Andy Cook. If they are going to get past the third round they will have to beat a seeded player.
On the girls side of things, Mountain Pointe coach Rick Carter has entered sophomores ViAnn Pham, the team’s No. 1, and Carla Poplawski, who has been playing as a No. 5, in the singles tournament.
In doubles the Pride’s No. 1 team of Mae Maiefski and Anastasia Pushkarenko should be favored in its first two matches before taking on the Salpointe duo of Nicole Whinery and Maeve McGeorge, who are seeded fourth.
Desert Vista’s Melissa Kahn earned the eighth seed, meaning if the seeds hold true she’d come across top-seeded Caroline Amos of Salpointe in the fourth round, while Thunder senior Courtney Floegel will have to take on the second-seeded Mikayla Morgan of Boulder Creek in the second round should she advance.
The Desert Vista combo of Yolena Carlon and Tori Kammerzell will have to get past top-seeded Margaret Cohen and Scarlett Rush of Xavier in the third round to make an extended run.
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.
If you go
What: Division I singles and doubles state tournament
When: April 19 (two rounds), April 20, April 26 and April 27 (semifinals and finals)
Where: The first two rounds for boys is at Indian School Park, 4289 N. Hayden Road in Scottsdale, with the girls first two rounds at Gene Autry Sports Complex, 4125 E. McKellips Road in Mesa. For both genders the third round is at Scottsdale Ranch Park, 10400 E. Via Linda in Scottsdale, with the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals at Paseo Racquet Center, 6268 Thunderbird Road in Glendale.
Who: The Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista boys and girls tennis teams with the Thunder’s Melissa Kahn being the only seeded player as the sophomore earned the eighth seed in singles action.
Tickets: $10 for adults; $6 students with school ID. Children 5 and under free.