Photo: Nata SamsKatlin and Eneli Lattik (EST)
With eight pairs of siblings across 25 nations participating at the 2018 ITF World Team Championships, it seems the sport of beach tennis is made for a special kind of bond.
Estonia’s Katlin Lattik made the switch to the sand from badminton only two years ago. Why? Because older sister Eneli needed a partner.
“I had no choice,” Katlin said.
With 11 years of badminton experience under her belt, the 21-year-old is simply made for beach tennis. Multiple ITF $2500 tournament wins in Lithuania and an 8th place finish at the World Team Championships on her debut in 2017, sister Eneli could not have picked a better partner.
“Maybe there is some kind of sister chemistry somewhere,” she said.
Another sibling pairing making waves in the beach tennis world is Germany’s Manuel and Benjamin Ringlstetter.
The brothers, who were one point away from a semifinal spot at this year’s championships, have endured much success in their eight years of playing beach tennis together.
Younger brother Manuel says it makes sense to play as a sibling pairing, “We fit well. We have known each other since we were little so it’s good.”
“We are used to being on the same court. We know each other’s ways, where to move, what to say… Other pairs need to play for a very long time together to have that,” Manuel said.
However, knowing each other too well can sometimes have its’ challenges.
“[As the older brother], he’s trying to be the big boss and I’m trying to get it back so sometimes we have little fights,” Manuel said.
For the past four years, Swiss sisters Nadja and Sarah Leuenberger have also been sharing the beach tennis court. A home-town festival in 2014 promoting the sport caught the eye of older sister Sarah.
“She [Nadja] had to work so I tried it, liked it a lot and told her,” she said.
Fast forward a week and the Swiss pairing were playing their first beach tennis tournament.
“We didn’t even have any racquets and I didn’t even know the rules,” Nadja said.
However, the 28-year-old has never looked back and believes she has the perfect partner.
“We understand each other very well. We know who is playing which ball and we complement each other.”
Eliminated in the first round, the sisters from Switzerland will play against Lithuania for 21st position, while the Lattik sisters and Ringlstetter brothers remain vying for their best-ever finish.