They can’t help it. Tennis is deeply engrained in the Wydra brothers’ way of life, their vernacular included.
Ryan is a junior at Hough High, and Sean is a freshman, and both have advanced to play in regionals May 3-4 after turning in strong performances at the I-Meck Conference tournament at Hopewell Monday and Tuesday. Ryan, the singles champ from two years ago and half of the league’s winning doubles tandem of last year, won the singles championship Tuesday, defeating Lake Norman’s Greg Dow 6-0, 6-1, while Sean finished in the top five to also punch his regional ticket.
Their most recent success has been on the individual level, but the Wydras have shared in each other’s as well. While they opted to play singles this postseason — players have to choose one or the other — the Wydras completed the I-Meck regular season 12-0 as a doubles team. Their brotherly bond helped make that possible.
“If you watch them in doubles, you can tell there’s a chemistry between them,” says Hough coach Alice Hansen.
The Wydras say their games complement one another. They communicate well and know how to share the court.
“I haven’t really played with anybody else, and I like to keep it that way,” says Sean.
Sean, 12-3 as Hough’s No. 2 player, says Ryan’s big serve causes problems for opponents, as does his shot placement. Ryan, 15-0 as the top seed, says Sean is a smart, all-around player who can win in a variety of ways. They don’t like to play one another, although they have.
“We don’t want to go there,” says Ryan.
While similar in many ways, they are different as well. Ryan is right-handed, Sean left. In his spare time, Ryan would rather pick up a book and read, while Sean is more likely to pick up a basketball and shoot. Ryan prefers a good steak, while Sean is content eating chicken five days a week. And as far as grades go, Ryan remains bummed about the one B he’s earned, while Sean has only posted As.
Though they have opted to play singles this postseason, they say they will likely compete in doubles next postseason to see what they can do together. The Wydras will have at least one more opportunity to play doubles this spring. With a 6-1 league record, Hough finished second in the I-Meck behind 7-0 Lake Norman, and secured a spot in the 4A team playoffs, which begin April 30.
Others moving on to regionals as well
Top five finishes in the I-Meck tournament were needed to earn regional berths, and the Wydras will be joined in the singles bracket by fellow I-Meck players Greg Dow of Lake Norman, Tyler Armato of Hopewell and Cameron Folmar of North Meck.
The Mooresville doubles tandem of Spencer Llewellyn and Perry Hicks won the I-Meck championship, defeating Lake Norman’s Sean Gallagher and Ryan Farley 6-3, 4-6, 7-5 in Tuesday’s final.
Other duos advancing to regionals are North Meck’s Justin Elliot and Marc Spano, Lake Norman’s Tanner Purvis and Clyton Bruin and Mooresville’s Jacob Stechly and Brady Sowers.