Grandpa’s crew: Nordstrom brothers put grandfather’s tutelage to use in victories at Elam Junior

Jesi Nordstrom, 15, of Grand Junction returns the ball Friday during his match in the boys 16 singles against Andy Bowen at the Elam Junior tennis tournament at Canyon View Park. Jesi won 6-1, 6-2.

Their grandfather often took Jesi and Lael Nordstrom out to play tennis.

Jesi has played doubles with his grandpa against his grandpa’s friends.

“He wanted us to get interested and take lessons,” Jesi said. “Twice a week he plays with his buddies. He took me once to play with them in Breckenridge. That was really fun.”

Now, the boys are playing tennis with more people than their grandpa.

This weekend, the Nordstroms are playing in the Elam Junior tennis tournament.

Jesi, 15, defeated Andy Bowen 6-1, 6-2 in Friday’s opening round at Canyon View Park.

Lael, 13, rallied to defeat Mike Poland 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the quarterfinals in the boys 14 singles draw.

The Elam Junior was the Nordstrom boys’ first tournament last summer.

Jesi played doubles for Central High School last fall as a freshman.

He started playing through the winter at the Junction Indoor Tennis Center and is playing in the Mesa County Junior League. He is playing five days a week this summer.

“I like the mental game,” he said. “A lot of it is mental and controlling your emotions. There is strategy involved.”

Lael watched his grandpa and brother play and wanted to try it himself. He joined the league this summer for the first time.

Both boys plan to play in a tournament in Vail next weekend and the Taco Bell Western Slope Open for the first time later this month.

“I guess like any sport, if you play enough, it hooks you in,” Lael said. “I like that you can play with one other guy and three others to play doubles at any public court around town.”

The boys also play tennis with their parents and younger sisters.

One of their sisters, Charis, started playing in the league this summer.

Lael will be in the eighth grade this fall, and wishes he could play high school tennis instead of waiting until he reaches high school.

“It looks like a lot of fun,” he said. “I want to play this year, but I don’t think I can.”

Jesi will be a sophomore this fall and could challenge for a singles position, but he has bigger aspirations.

“I really want to go pro,” Jesi said. “I’d like to make a career of it, because I like it so much.”

Grandpa would probably love that.


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