Durham brothers part ways

Michael Durham, who played No. 1 singles for FPD as a senior, is headed to Auburn this fall.
Michael Durham, who played No. 1 singles for FPD as a senior, is headed to Auburn this fall.

Miller and Michael Durham always have played together. They started learning tennis together. They started working with Craig Jones together. They do everything together.

But this fall, the Durham duo will cease. Miller will be playing tennis for Kennesaw State and his twin, Michael, will be playing at Auburn.

They have been training with Jones since they were 11. In seven years, they have developed into top tennis players in Jones’ academy. The two have very different styles. Miller, being a left-hander, plays really well off the backcourt, while Michael, a right-hander, has a more power game and plays more of an all-court style.

Their different play styles make them a strong doubles team. They balance well.

They have been playing doubles together for six years, although things weren’t the best starting out. Michael said from the very beginning he and Miller always fought and didn’t get along. They would argue and fuss on the court, and their games reflected that.

“Back when we first started playing doubles, in our first tournaments for the first two years or so, we were chaotic on the court,” Miller said.

After learning how to play with each other, the two meshed and matured — building a special bond and developing into a strong doubles team.

The brothers’ chemistry on the court has also helped them grow closer off the court. When they aren’t playing tennis, they go hunting or fishing and always hang out with each other.

“We’ll spend hours and hours each day out here hitting together,” Miller said. “So between on the tennis court and off the tennis court, we’re always there together. We’ve been through it all together. Being able to go alongside him the whole way, I guess it’s really brought us together.”

The Durham brothers are role models at the academy. Jones said he will miss having them around. They are part of the oldest group in the academy and are examples to the other players in the academy.

“Everybody likes these boys,” Jones said. “They are class acts.”

The two have matured into strong players. They have spent years training to play Division I tennis, a dream both have had since they started working with Jones.

Miller said the most challenging thing is going to be adjusting to a new doubles partner. He will have to learn to play with all the players on his team, and that uncertainty is something he might struggle with early on, but he thinks he will learn from it.

Both knew the chances of staying together in college weren’t likely. While both would have wanted to play at the same program, they are also excited about the new challenge.

“It will be fun to see in the long run, if our teams run up against each other some time,” Michael said.