Women's Tennis

Tennis twins have connection on and off the court

In the game of tennis, a connection with your doubles partner is key.

For Oregon women’s tennis players Allie and Kadie Hueffner, they’ve had a connection since birth.

The Hueffner twins, who graduated from Lincoln High School in Portland, have been playing tennis together since they were 7. The pair picked up the sport after watching their older sister Tasha, who is currently the captain of the women’s tennis team at the Air Force Academy.

“It was really cool seeing our family grow up around it,” Tasha said.

The duo won back-to-back state championships in doubles their junior and senior years of high school. When it came time to decide where to attend college, the twins said love for the Ducks brought them to Oregon.

The sisters shared that they have always been close, but became even tighter when Allie underwent back surgery in August 2010.

Both were diagnosed with scoliosis, but by the time Allie was 15, the curvature in her spine got to the point where she would be hunched over if it was never corrected. Two rods were placed on both sides of her spine to straighten out her curve.

The recovery was supposed to be for six to eight months, but Allie was back on the court within four.

“I just really wanted to get going,” Allie said. “I started walking as soon as I could.”

Watching Allie go through surgery was difficult on Kadie.

“It was pretty traumatic,” Kadie said. “The actual day of the surgery I was freaking out. It is such a dangerous procedure to go through because it’s dealing with your spine. So the littlest mistake – everything could go wrong. She did a really good job in the recovery process. She was driven to get up on her feet and be her normal self again.”

Now, the twins’ upcoming challenge is to successfully compete at the next level. As freshmen playing in the talented Pac-12 conference, the sisters will face a tougher competition.

Head coach Paul Reber added that the Hueffners have the ability to push the team in doubles and is excited about the possibilities for the pair. Reber said that he can tell when a doubles team isn’t getting along, especially when it comes to the Hueffner sisters.

“These two don’t have to even say anything, they read each other’s body language so well,” Reber said.

The sisters agreed that their relationship off the court can make matches easier.

“Since we are sisters we have a little but of wiggle room, where I can tell her to do something or give her stratigic criticism and she won’t take it the wrong way or get mad at me because she knows it is coming from her sister,” Kadie said.

As only freshmen, the sisters’ future looks bright at Oregon and their older sister Tasha agrees.

“I think that their talented enough to be in the lineup all four years and improve. I hope they will be the leaders on the team one day,” Tasha said.

Just like the professional players the Bryan Brothers, who the twins have always looked up to and met when they were 10, playing together has always just been a part of their game.

“We know how to have fun and make each other laugh. It’s always been a constant,” Allie said. “Us learning and improving together at the same time.”

Follow Beth Maiman on Twitter @bethamaiman

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