As a singles player in an individual sport like tennis, Bryan Wong could be expected to march to the beat of a different drummer.
But when that drummer was someone like his older brother, Brad, the Desert Vista junior was following in his footsteps.
“I played soccer when I was younger because my brother did,” Wong said. “But when he quit soccer to play tennis, I did, too. He was my role model.”
They had an opportunity to play together for the Pride for only one season two years ago, but they had an impact.
As the Thunder’s No. 3 doubles team, the brothers won the final match of the semifinals against top-seeded Tempe Corona del Sol that put Desert Vista into the finals of the 5A-I state championship.
Desert Vista eventually lost to powerhouse Tucson Salpointe, but the brothers were able to say they helped the Thunder get there.
As the No. 6 singles player, Bryan Wong got one of the two Desert Vista singles victories against Salpointe that season.
Wong has shifted between the No. 2 and 3 spot in the singles lineup this season, but is the heir-apparent to take over the top rung on the ladder as a senior next season after Ahmad Saleem graduates this spring.
“Well, maybe,” Wong said. “We have a pretty good freshman coming in, so we’ll see.”
Wong was following his brother to the tennis court when he was as young as 6 and lately dedicated himself to the sport, taking private lessons from local instructors like Ed Wolin and Mike Henneberry while playing year-round.
“It was fun playing doubles with my brother that first year,” Wong said. “But I was nervous.”
Otherwise, like most singles players, he prefers to have the burden of winning or losing on his own shoulders.
“I enjoy doubles,” Wong said, “but I like the idea that it’s up to me to win or lose.”
Venturing into the state singles on his own last year Wong got to the second round of the playoffs last season before losing to Lucas Patrick from Gilbert Mesquite in three sets.
He won his match in the opening round of the playoffs against rival Mountain Pointe earlier this week.
“He always steps up,” said Desert Vista coach Wayne Brimley, who plans to give Wong an opportunity to play in the No. 1 singles spot next season.
If Wong does land the spot it will be higher than his brother had a chance to play in when he played behind Saleem and Jacob Barnaby in his senior season.