LAUREN WOOD | The Natchez Democrat — Nancy Doan, 13, left, and her sister Laura, 8, have been playing tennis off and on for the past year, practicing with Henry Harris at Duncan Park.

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Sister act hits court

Published 12:02am Friday, October 26, 2012

NATCHEZ — Nancy and Laura Doan have made it a goal to play tennis with their cousins.

So the two decided to get an early start on their tennis careers by making regular visits to Duncan Park Tennis Director Henry Harris every Wednesday and Friday afternoon.

Nancy, 13, and Laura, 8, look up to their older cousins Mimi and Nina, whom are in their late teens to early 20s. Though it was their mother’s idea to start tennis lessons, Nancy said her cousins’ influence also played a part.

LAUREN WOOD / The Natchez Democrat — Laura practices a forehand during practice Wednesday at Duncan Park.

“I watched my cousin Mimi once, and I didn’t understand (the game), but I kind of liked it,” Nancy said.

And so lessons began a little more than a year ago for her and Laura, who also said she wants to play with her cousins one day.

“I watched them play a lot of times, and they’re really good,” Laura said. “They’re really good, but sometimes, they just miss (the ball).”

Harris said the sisters are getting valuable lessons when they do practice, but since they both live in Fayette, there’s not much they can do on their own time. Nancy, Harris said, plans to try out for the Cathedral tennis team.

“Nancy has great potential, but living in Fayette, it’s hard to get to the courts to play someone regularly,” Harris said. “She’s improved a whole lot. She knows how to hit balls, but she doesn’t have anyone to hit with daily, so she doesn’t get better until she comes back to hit with me.”

Laura also a lot of potential, but since she’s so young, much of that is raw potential, Harris said.

“She’s like most second and third graders: she’s enthused, but the light hasn’t come on,” Harris said. “But she has great potential, and I mean great.”

Nancy said Harris has helped her improve by explaining things at a level she can understand.

“He tries to correct my mistakes,” Nancy said. “I get confused sometimes, but he’s a pretty easy coach to understand.”

Though she first thought tennis was a difficult sport, Nancy said she’s been able to pick it up without too many problems.

“Sometimes I think it’s hard, but sometimes I think it’s really easy, and I can do it,” Nancy said.

Nancy also said she likes how competitive tennis can be, and her favorite part is seeing who will win after going back and forth between her opponents.

“My least favorite part is that I have to pick up the balls every time,” Nancy said.

Laura said she finds tennis easy to pick up because there aren’t too many things to do all at once.

“You just hit the ball with your tennis racquet,” Laura said. “Whenever the ball is coming, I try to hit it.”

But sometimes that’s easier said than done for Laura.

“Sometimes I swing my racquet too fast and miss,” Laura said. “I feel like I need to try again (after I miss), but I never get angry.”

Controlling the speed of her swing is something Harris works on Laura with a lot, she said.

“He teaches me not to swing the racquet too fast, to swing it up and try to hit the ball,” Laura said.