Focused. Determined. Calm.
Those can be just a couple of the words used to describe the Borger brother and sister team of Abbie and Josh Madden when they step onto the tennis court in mixed-doubles competition.
Neither player displays the over aggressive personality of being outspoken or outwardly displaying a lot of emotion on the court that fans have seen over the years. Such behavior has been seen from tennis players such as the Williams sisters, John McEnroe or Jimmy Conners.
There is no question that after the duoâ€™s opening prayer before every match that the Maddens possess a strong competitive streak in being determined to come out as the winning team at the end of the match no matter who their opponent may be.
With that drive, over the past two years, the Maddens have established themselves as one of the top mixed-doubles tennis teams in the region, in any classification.
This season the duo has accumulated over 20 wins and just one loss against a 5A state qualifying team from Amarillo Tascosa on their way to earning their second trip in a row to the 3A State Tournament. They won the 3A Region I title two weeks back in Lubbock, and lost only one set through four matches.
Getting a taste of the state tournament in 2010 helped provide some of the motivation for a good season with J.Madden saying, â€śI do think that experience opened our eyes some by showing what we needed to work on. Going into the season I think both of us had the mindset to come out playing more aggressive with our main purpose all season being to get back to state.â€ť
What might come as a surprise is that neither Josh or Abbie spent much time playing tennis prior to high school, especially as a team in mixed-doubles play.
Josh, who is a senior, started to play mixed-doubles during his sophomore year on the Borger High School tennis team. After his first partner graduated in the spring of 2009, Borger Head Tennis Coach Jeff Pinkerton made the suggestion to team Abbie, who is a junior, with Josh, to see what kind of team they would form and low and behold, the combination worked out pretty well.
A.Madden said that the initial adjustment came from realizing that the guy players on the opposing team are going to come at you. So it caused her to quickly learn how to be ready and be able to return the ball from both the guy and girl players they matched up against.
When first asked about why do they think there is a good chemistry between them, the siblings reacted in a manner giving the indication it is something they really havenâ€™t spent much time thinking about.
However A.Madden responded, â€śProbably in the spring of last year is when we started playing really well. I think part of it is we really donâ€™t spend time fighting and we do a good job knowing how to lift each other up.â€ť
The trip to state last year was definitely a learning experience for the team, with J.Madden saying, â€śI think last year caught us by surprise a little. We had a short warm up, more pressure and the talent was at another level than what we had seen in other tournaments.â€ť
The Maddens will enter this yearâ€™s state tournament with more confidence and will be one of the top four seeds.
As far as their goals for the tournament, A.Madden quickly said, â€śTo play our best and do better than we did last year.â€ť
J.Madden agreed with his sister but added, â€śIf we can find a way to get to the final, that would be awesome.â€ť
The 1A-3A State Tennis Tournament will take place this coming Monday and Tuesday at the World of Tennis at Lakeway in Austin.
According to the UIL web site, the Maddens open the tournament taking on Dylon Cox and Kaitlyn Green of Kirbyville.