Brothers court further success

03:32, Jan 23 2013
Travis Kilile
The right stuff: Tennis-playing Kenyan brothers Travis Kilile, 9, left, and Tevin, 11, go to St Mary’s school and are both unbeaten so far this season in the Saturday morning Marlborough primary schools competition.

African countries may not be among the tennis world's superpowers, but two young Kenyan brothers doing well on the Marlborough tennis scene are proving being from that part of the globe may be an advantage.

Following dad Andrew, who made the shift in 2004, 11-year-old Tevin and 9-year-old Travis Kilile immigrated to Marlborough with their mum, Liner, from Kenya in 2005.

Not long after their arrival, inspired by Somalian friends who were playing, Tevin and Travis began attending the Marlborough Tennis Association's ‘drop-in' sessions on a Saturday morning. Their talent was evident from an early stage and for the last two years they have been part of squad training with Marlborough coach Michael Mooney.

That training appears to be paying off, too, because this season the brothers are unbeaten playing for St Mary's in the Saturday morning Marlborough primary schools competition. Tevin plays at No 2 in the St Mary's division one team, while Travis plays No 1 in division two before coming up to play at No 3 or 4 in Tevin's division one side.

At the Marlborough Primary Schools Champs in November, Travis won the boys B grade against much older opposition, while Tevin played in A grade and missed out on a spot in the semifinals after losing to eventual third-place-getter Torban Otway.

Mooney believed the boys were not only in the top one or two players for their age-group in Marlborough, but were also among the top half-dozen in the South Island and would be right up there with any nine or 11 year-old players in the world. He said they were intending on shooting a video to send to the Kenyan Tennis Association for support and felt that the brothers had a lot of potential to succeed.

"As Africans they have a very laidback attitude and manner, they don't get stressed out whether they are winning or losing. Both of them have very good temperaments, a lot of patience and a good attitude. I think they have got a lot of talent and deserve some support."

Along with tennis, the brothers also excel in winter sports, with Tevin playing football and Travis rugby.


The Marlborough Express