Southwestern junior Landon DeAtley (left) and freshman Jordan DeAtley (right) are the Madison Courier Boys Tennis Co-Players of the Year. (Photo by Nina Campbell)
Southwestern junior Landon DeAtley (left) and freshman Jordan DeAtley (right) are the Madison Courier Boys Tennis Co-Players of the Year. (Photo by Nina Campbell)
(Editor’s Note: Although boys tennis is a fall sport in Indiana, it is a spring sport in Kentucky. In order to maintain fairness, The Madison Courier was waiting until the conclusion of the spring season to name a player of the year in the sport.)

Landon and Jordan DeAtley have had a lot of experience competing with each other in a variety of sports growing up but it wasn’t until recently that the competition spilled out onto the tennis courts. And that competition has paid dividends for the Southwestern boys tennis program.

The two brothers helped propel the Rebels to one of their best seasons in recent memory and are this year’s Madison Courier Boys Tennis Co-Players of the Year.

“It’s nice to have them. Since they’re brothers, they’re very competitive which motivates both of them to get better,” Southwestern coach Robert Green said. “Jordan wants to beat Landon and Landon doesn’t want Jordan to beat him. So they both get to practice and become more consistent and focus their approach on their game to become better players.”

Landon, a junior, spent this season playing No. 1 singles, his second season in the top spot while Jordan, a freshman, maintained the No. 2 singles position.

Both players had their share of success. Facing off against the other team’s best players, Landon had a solid season at No. 1 going 9-10 while Jordan took off and posted the team’s best record at 16-3. Southwestern went 11-5 as a team and saw its season end in the sectional championship but each is hoping for bigger things in 2020.

“It went a lot better than the previous season,” Landon said with a smile. “I felt more confident and mostly felt more control of my opponents.”

“I was really happy with my freshman season,” Jordan said. “It was good to start off with a winning record.”

Although he’s the younger of the two, Jordan has actually been playing tennis longer. He took up the sport in fifth grade and played No. 1 singles throughout his middle school career.

His hopes at playing No. 1 in high school were dashed when he ran up against his older brother. Landon won a playoff to keep the No. 1 singles spot and maintained it throughout the season.

“Jordan is a great person. He’s a lot quieter than Landon but he’s very competitive,” Green said. “He’s also a little different than Landon in his approach. He’s more consistent with his shots and he really digs down in tough matches and I think that comes from his middle school matches. That experience helped him translate to No. 2 singles right away.”

Landon first started playing tennis as a freshman when he got a taste of the sport in open court and was asked to come out for the team by Green. He got thrust into the No. 1 spot as a sophomore — something he admits he wasn’t ready for — and has become the squad’s leader.

“Landon is a great, great kid. He’s always been good for us. He’s our captain and he leads by example,” Green said. “There’s nothing bad to say about him. He works hard, he has a great attitude, he always rises to the occasion when we need him the most.”

Both brothers admit that tennis isn’t their number one sport. Each are avid baseball players and although their spring season was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both are hopeful that they can get back on the field later this summer.

But both also admit that they have become taken with the sport of tennis. The sport requires a different skill set than what they need in baseball and each loves the challenge of getting better.

“The mental side can get me to me sometimes,” Landon said, adding with a smile. “I’ll be down on court one and I’ll scream at the top of my lungs. But that’s what makes it fun, trying to control yourself.”

“I like how it makes you depend on the whole team,” Jordan said. “It’s a team sport. If one person loses, it’s OK because you have three others that have a chance to win.”

Of course there is also the competitive aspect that can only come between brothers. While Landon is fully expecting to play No. 1 singles during his senior season, Jordan doesn’t plan on just giving him the spot.

“It can get competitive. We played a match this year to see who got one singles and he got me this year but it was competitive,” Jordan said.

“In the first tournament we played, we played doubles and we won the tournament. Whenever we’re playing together, it’s a good thing,” Landon said then added with a laugh. “But when we’re playing against each other, it’s not a good thing.”

As long as they’re on the court together, it will always be a good thing for Southwestern.