OAK PARK — The partners on Trinity’s No. 1 doubles team were born to play together.
And born together to play.
Seniors Hope and Nannette Babbington are twin sisters and the fact they know each other’s tendencies on and off the court has helped make them a perfect pairing.
“We grew up playing against each other in singles but we had different partners playing doubles in our first two years [at Trinity],” Nannette Babbington said. “But we’ve been playing together since junior year and we have the same coach outside of high school so we know a lot of the same strategies. So during a match I can say, ‘Let’s try this strategy,’ and she’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.”
“Being twins helps us as doubles partners,” Hope Babbington said. “We know how to communicate and we know how each other plays and that really helps.”
While they’re twins, they’re most certainly not clones. Nannette Babbington features a consistent serve and solid ground strokes. Hope has more power with more spin on the ball.
Both girls picked up tennis when they were 9, following the path blazed by their older sister, Annie Babbington, who played tennis at Trinity and graduated in 2010.
Last year was the first year they started playing doubles. First-year Trinity coach Alice Tebbutt said she could see a rapport when they started hitting together this fall.
“I had them at singles a little bit but when I put them at doubles, it just worked,” Tebbutt said “They balance each other very well and they motivate each other. They’ve been playing together for a long time so they have similar approaches.”
The sisters understand their days at the same school might be coming to an end and are exploring different options after graduation.
“We probably will wind up at the same college but we also want to go to the place that fits the best for each of us,” Hope Babbington said.
“She likes smaller schools and I like more medium-sized or larger schools,” Nannette Babbington said. “But we have applied to some of the same schools.”
The sisters’ high school careers came to an end at the Oak Park-River Forest Sectional on Friday when they dropped their first-round match to Latin’s Gaby Kiederling and Audrey Lee 6-0, 6-3.
“We didn’t reach all of our expectations but I think overall we did pretty well this year,” Hope Babbington said. “We didn’t win as many matches as we would have liked to, but we played well.”