Tennis twins still acing it, oceans apart

Tennis twins still acing it, oceans apart

62-year-old brothers at international level

A world away on the tennis court, in their masters careers the Fairbotham brothers are nearly on the same page.

The 62-year-old twins, David in Saanich and Jeff in Lymm, England, finished the summer of 2018 at the top of their game.

When David called his identical twin brother Jeff last month to tell him about finishing third in Canada in singles for men aged 60 to 64, Jeff responded by saying he’d just won the British Grass Court Championship doubles in the same age bracket.

It wasn’t a surprise to David, but it was great news. Jeff has already experienced success representing England internationally at every age group for more than 20 years, often in doubles, but was also his county singles champion.

“I could bore you with the details,” David said. “We are both [chartered] accountants, had daughters born a month apart of each other, and we each have a son. We have also both dislocated the same shoulder.”

Their parents and elder brother were great influences on their tennis youth, teaching them the game where they grew up near Blackpool, a seaside resort north of Liverpool.

As teens they played club tennis against others and sometimes against each other. Before he left England in the 1980s, David said he and Jeff were close competitively. However, David’s having more success in the senior levels than when he arrived in his 30s, he said.

“I did win the Times Colonist tournament when I first arrived as a 31-year-old in the early ‘90s,” David said. “There’s a remarkable list of players in Victoria, between ‘45 and ‘65, we had many good matches.”

David’s been a common face at masters for provincials, westerns and nationals.

In August, David missed out on making the Canadian final when he lost to the eventual 2018 champion in the 60 to 64 men’s semifinal in a tiebreaker set at the Steve Stevens Nationals held in Montreal. David bounced though back to win third place.

He’s now in line to potentially play for Canada in 2019. It will depend on how a few factors come into place, such as last year’s men’s singles champion in the same age bracket, Rob Bettauer, the CEO of PISE and Sportsnet commentator lives in Victoria.

Bettauer, ranked No. 1 in Canada, was the only player to beat David at the 2018 Western nationals and David notes Bettauer was away at the world championships in August when Steve Stevens Nationals.

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