Anyone who follows tennis knows it’s not uncommon for siblings to have success as doubles tennis players (the No. 1-ranked Bryan brothers immediately come to mind). Edmonds-Woodway’s Youngha and Younghan Kim will count on their own version of sibling chemistry when they represent EWHS at the state 4A tennis tournament in Vancouver, Wash., starting Friday.
The Kim brothers earned a berth to state after finishing second at the District 1 tournament last fall. (Both boys and girls tennis players have their state tournament in the spring, even though many schools have boys tennis as a fall sport while the girls play in the spring.)
This is the first year that Youngha, a senior, and Younghan, a junior have played doubles together in the postseason. (The boys played singles during the regular season.) The brothers tested the waters last summer, competing in USTA tournaments “just to get a gauge of how we played together,” Youngha said. “That ended up being pretty successful, and we realized that we needed to start playing more together so we could do some damage at state.”
Last year, Youngha competed at state as a junior with his senior doubles partner Jake Lagucik. They didn’t place, but Youngha believes that the experience will reduce his nervousness when the brothers face the Olympia High School team of Hunter Wood /John Stormans in the first round Friday morning.
Both Youngha and Younghan say they feel comfortable playing at either the net or the baseline, although “when it goes down to the wire, I think I have more of en edge at the net and he has more of an edge at ground strokes.,” Youngha said of his younger brother.
So does the fact they are siblings give them an advantage on the court? “Sometimes the brothers relationship doesn’t really work out between tennis players,” Youngha said. “At first it started like that for Younghan and I, but our doubles actually ended up bringing us closer. We think alike when we play the points, without even communicating or talking to each other.”
“He actually listens to me now,” Younghan said with a smile.
Once the state tournament is over, Youngha said he will make a decision about college plans for the fall – he plans to attend either Western Washington University or University of California-Davis, with a likely major in either architecture or civil engineering.
“Right now I’m not going to think about it too much,” he said. “I don’t want to get my head too clogged up. I just want to focus on state.”
You can track the Kim brothers’ progress on the WIAA website, which will update the brackets during play Friday and Saturday. Also watch for updates on My Edmonds News.