Above photo: Daniel Mullins at the 2017 Kildonan Junior Open. Photo courtesy of Karl Mendoza at www.kamera8studios.ca.

In just a few years of playing competitive tennis, twins Fiona and Daniel Mullins have earned spots to the Rogers Junior Nationals for the second straight year.

The pair will represent Manitoba at the U14 Indoor Rogers Junior Nationals, April 1-7 in Vancouver. Having the experience of playing nationals last year, they said, will help prepare them for Vancouver.

“Just knowing the high level of intensity that’s going to be out there,” said Daniel.

In 2017, Daniel and Fiona competed at the U12 Indoor Rogers Junior Nationals in Calgary and the U12 Outdoor Rogers Junior Nationals in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec. Fiona also played the U14 Outdoor Rogers Junior Nationals in Mont-Tremblant.

“We had only ever played tournaments here (Manitoba) and in Saskatchewan,” Daniel said of their first trip to nationals.

Daniel Mullins in ranked No. 1 in Manitoba in U14 boys and No. 4 in U16 boys, while Fiona Mullins is ranked No. 3 in the province in U14 girls and No. 5 in U16 girls.

The 12-year-old twins have played three tournaments so far in 2018: the Taylor Junior Open at Taylor Tennis Club, the Saskatchewan Provincial Indoor Junior Open in Regina and the Lakewood Indoor Junior Open in Saskatoon.

At Taylor (January 4-7), Daniel was a finalist in U14 boys’ singles, Fiona was a semifinalist in U14 girls’ singles, and they teamed up to win the U14 co-ed doubles. In Regina (January 19-21), Fiona won three rounds in U14 girls’ singles before losing the final and Daniel was a semifinalist in U14 boys’ singles. In Saskatoon (February 2-4), both players reached the semifinals of their U14 singles events.

The twins got their start in the sport at a Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club junior camp.

“We used to play tennis just for fun when we were five or six but we really got into it and started competing at 10 (years old),” said Fiona.

Fiona and Daniel play at the Winnipeg Winter Club and are coached by Peter Otto. They also train with Tennis Manitoba provincial coach Jared Connell.

“We play four or five times a week,” Fiona said. “We also have to fit in school sports too, so we leave time for that.”

The Mullins twins are Grade 7 students at Charleswood School. Fiona plays school sports such as volleyball and basketball and is also active in dance. Daniel plays school sports in addition to playing club basketball.

Fiona Mullins at the 2017 Tuxedo Junior Open. Photo courtesy of Karl Mendoza at www.kamera8studios.ca.