A brother-sister tennis double act from Hale put sibling rivalry aside as they strutted their stuff on the big stage at the National Finals of the Quorn Family Tennis Cup.
Jack and Jemma Cave formed a fine partnership at state-of-the-art National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, where top stars Andy Murray and Kyle Edmund hone their talent.
The dynamic duo – playing together for only the second time competitively – performed well at the event despite missing out on overall victory, which went to Joe Hart and James Griffiths from Stourbridge.
Jack, 21, revelled in the chance to play six, competitive matches alongside his sister, strengthening their bond and making special memories.
“It’s hard to teach juniors how to play doubles but Jemma is quite comfortable with it now!” said Jack, a tennis coach.
“It’s an odd one – she claims to be quite good. I’ve not played too much with her but I knew I’d find out this weekend whether she is what she’s cracked up to be.
“There are a few double faults but her game is coming on really well.
“We can either argue with each other or just enjoy it. If either of us take a bad shot, it’s not the end of the world and we’re quite positive about it all.
“Playing in wonderful facilities made it a special weekend and we’d definitely come back to do it again – this is the first year we’ve entered.”
The fourth edition of the Quorn Family Tennis Cup, an increasingly unique opportunity for adults and juniors to play doubles together, brought the top 16 family pairings in the country under one roof.
The competitors were whittled down to finalists through hard-fought, regional competition – Jack and Jemma prevailed in qualifiers staged in Trafford, South Manchester.
It was a yellow ball event, targeted at juniors from 10 and 18, with the LTA also staging red ball versions, aimed at kids under the age of 10, where 7,000 players take to the court nationally.
Jack and Jemma were given treatment worthy of tour professional over the weekend, offered the same trappings and luxuries as Murray and Edmund when they train in SW15.
All families took advantage of accommodation on-site, free meals, kit giveaways and even could record their games for posterity via the venue’s cameras.
Jemma, 14, doesn’t exactly find the prospect of playing with her brother relaxing but revelled in the experience of playing at the home of British tennis.
“We thought we’d just give it a go a few months ago and got through the qualifiers despite not having played together much,” said the Wellington College pupil.
“This will only the second time we’ve played together competitively and we don’t have our tactics sorted out that well.
“But I play quite a lot of doubles generally. It’s a bit stressful playing with him because he’s a bit older. He tells me what to do but I don’t mind too much!
“The facilities at the National Tennis Centre are fantastic and it’s really inspiring.”
The Quorn Family Tennis Cup has Red Ball events for under 10’s as well as Yellow ball events for juniors up to 18. All the events are fun, family focussed and are always doubles events where parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents get to play as well. Find out more at www.lta.org.uk/quorntennis