Different strokes

Teens find common ground in tennis

Andrew Humble, 13,  of Carbondale returns a shot against Trigg Hayward, 13,  of Grand Junction playing in the boys 14-under singles at the Taco Bell Western Slope Open at the Elliott Tennis Center.

Trigg Hayward, 13,  of Grand Junction returns shot against Andrew Humble, 13, of Carbondale in the 14-under boys singles Monday during the Taco Bell Western Slope Open.

Andrew Humble jumped into the Taco Bell Western Slope Open with both feet. The 13-year-old had never played a tournament tennis match before Monday, when he took on Trigg Hayward.

There was no easing into tournament play for Humble, who drew a competitive and talented Hayward for his first match.

Looking at the two boys, they look like complete opposites.

Hayward wears red, Humble is in blue.

Hayward’s blond hair is cut short, Humble’s shaggy brown hair brushes the top of his eyes.

Their games are different, too. Hayward’s strengths are at the net, and Humble’s lie in his serves.

But when the boys smile, a similarity that many 13-year-old boys share is revealed. Their grins are covered with braces.

But soon-to-be straight teeth isn’t the only thing the boys have in common. Both developed a love for tennis through their families.

Hayward plays tennis because of his older sisters, and Humble because of his dad.

Bronte and Kenyon Hayward both played tennis for Fruita Monument High School, where Trigg will play eventually. His competitive nature is revealed when he plays with his sisters.

“I like having to beat everyone in my family,” he said. “I think I can beat both of my sisters.”

This week, he will be teaming up with Bronte rather than playing against her, and although Trigg will have to move up to the 18-under bracket to be his sister’s mixed doubles partner, he isn’t concerned about playing tough competition. Just like any loving brother, his worries are with Bronte.

“I’m excited to play with Bronte. I’ll have to help her out a bit, though,” he said with a mischievous smile.

Humble got interested in the game because of his dad. The two play tennis together, which, along with lessons, has helped Humble improve.

“He helps me with my consistency and just playing around hitting the ball,” Humble said.

His father also inspires him to take tennis seriously and look for better competition. Because his father played at a small school, Humble said he wasn’t able to play against quality talent all the time.

Now, Humble, who lives in Carbondale, is playing with the Mesa County Junior Team Tennis League and plans to compete in more tournaments so he can reach his full potential.

Both boys are also looking to the future when it comes to tennis.

Hayward has attended several summer camps in Texas to gain experience. Bronte Hayward said her brother has recently begun taking tennis very seriously.

“I’m going to keep playing tennis in high school and maybe college,” Trigg Hayward said. “I like that I can keep improving and always get better. There is never a limit to how good you can get.”

Humble isn’t as certain that tennis will be his sport for life. He also likes soccer, but he is sure he will be playing tennis for a while.

“I’m just trying to actually get better and better so that I can play more when I’m older,” he said.

Hayward and Humble’s dedication to tennis is apparent as the two calmly returned shot after shot to each other during their singles match Monday.

After a long rally that ended up going in Humble’s favor, Hayward remained focused and unaffected, something he said wouldn’t have happened a year ago.

“I would always get really frustrated,” he said. “But now I feel like I can relax more.”

Hayward was relaxed from beginning to end and his expression rarely changed as he defeated Humble 6-2, 6-1.

The two boys shook hands and walked away, Hayward from one of many more matches to come, and Humble from his first, but not his last.


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