Double trouble with Tennis Twins
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Arnav and Arsav Mohanty do everything together. They rarely get irritated with each other—until it comes to the tennis court.
The pair started their tennis careers at age 12, which is relatively late for a sport known for its child prodigies and toddler racket-toters. The brothers quickly realized their dominance as a doubles duo.
“We’ve played together for so long, so we understand where the other one’s going to be on the court.”
The brothers’ irritation come across in comments they call “constructive criticism” of the best kind: slightly threatening, slightly demeaning, but always in an effort to improve each other’s play.
“We can be a little threatening, but it’s always a good thing,” Arsav said.
“It’s more like, ‘What are you doing?!” Arnav said. “It’s that one point, and then it’s over.”
Arnav explained that tennis players, and athletes in general, can sometimes be blind to their own faults in their game. He said that he and his brother check each other and point out what the other can improve on.
Arsav explains that he has always been the one to be a little more assertive off of the court, even when they were young.
“I wish we could remember when we were babies,” said Arnav. “I used to be the bully when we were babies. I would always take his toys away.”
However, Arnav has his moments of rebellion. Arsav recollected a story his mother would repeatedly tell the brothers about when they were little.
“One time I tried to take his toy, and next thing you know he’s pulling my hair and I was just completely crying”, said Arnav.
The brothers have always shared similar interests, other than toy-fighting and tennis. The two are nearly inseparable, whether it be in school, sports, or extracurricular activities. The two followed each other to Mercer University where they earned scholarships to play on the tennis team under head coach Eric Hayes.
Since their freshman year in 2011, the brothers have honed their skills to be one of the most feared doubles teams in the Southern Conference.
Both the brothers agree that tennis can be exhausting, and that they sometimes forget why they play. As with most athletes, the long hours spent on the court and refining skills can seem to outweigh the joyous moments.
“A lot of times you forget you love tennis,” Arnav said. “In any sport, losing is part of it. Nobody wants to lose. Those are the moments when you forget you love the sport, for a little bit. When you’re on the court by yourself.”
Arsav spoke about how mentally jarring tennis can be, saying, “when you’re confident, you love the sport. When you’re not doing well, you hate it.”
Arnav has had a successful singles season so far, making it to a final and a semifinal in two fall preseason tournaments. Arsav has struggled with persistent foot injuries, so he has been playing lower in the lineup than what he had hoped. However, the boys’ focus and attention has always been geared towards what they can accomplish as a team.
They said their favorite moment together was when they won the Florida State Doubles tournament in the 18U division.
“We had so much fun on the court together, just crushing everyone in front of us,” Arnav said.
The brothers share identical academic interests. Both are double majors in Economics and Business, but before focusing on job searches they plan to spend a year following graduation trying to make it on the Pro Tour as a doubles pair.
“We’ll see how it goes. Doubles we would have a better chance, I would say. It’s a still a long way to go,” Arnav said.
If that does not pan out, Arnav said that they will both try to get MBAs. Of course, they plan on getting their professional degrees together. The brothers, as most soon-to-be college graduates, are apprehensive about the future after leaving Mercer.
“We’re in a bubble, and we’re going into the real world,” Arnav said.
“Four years flies by, though. That’s for sure. I still feel like a freshman,” Arsav said.
The pair have an impressive record of 8-2 for the preseason, and hope to win the Conference Tournament as both a doubles pair and as a team.
The brothers have learned countless lessons by playing with each other since a young age, including the importance of cooperation.
“Both of you want to win. It’s not like you want to win, and he’s trying to make you lose,” Arnav said.
“I’ve learned that he sucks,” Arsav added. “Just kidding.”