On an island, just outside of Stockholm, Sweden, Camilla and Patrick Lindqvist were teaching their twin sons the sport of tennis at the local tennis club. From there, Max and Oliver Lindqvist would take the sport their parents taught them and turn it into college careers at Colorado Mesa University.
“We started playing tennis because [our father] did,” Max said. “And our Mom played too so it was a favorite thing to do with the whole family,” Oliver said.
The sophomore twins from Stockholm began their tennis careers at the age of six. Learning the fundamentals of tennis from the same country as Stefan Edberg, Robin Söderling and Björn Borg, all of whom would occasionally play at the same club as the Lindqvist twins.
For two to three times a week, right after school, the twins would go to the club and play as a family. Practicing for tournaments held on the weekends. As the pair grew older the competition became tougher and tougher.
By the time they reached high school, Max and Oliver were playing at a high level and began to eye a possible future in tennis, but there was a problem. Sweden did not have an intermediate level of competition between high school and the pros. If Max and Oliver were to continue playing without immediately turning pro, they would need to head for the U.S. to play at the collegiate level.
Max posted a YouTube video of his highlights to get his name and image out to American coaches. When CMU head coach Dan MacDonald saw the video he knew he wanted Max on his team.
“Coach MacDonald contacted me and said he liked the way I played and wanted to give me an offer to come here to play, a scholarship,” Max said. Max was also convinced to come play for CMU because CMU had something that none of the other schools had: his longtime girlfriend.
Oliver’s collegiate career began at Averett University in Virginia. His former head coach visited a showcase in Sweden and offered Oliver a chance to come play for the Averett Cougars. Averett, however, was a school of less than 1,000 students, which meant the competition at the Division III level was not ideal.
“I was playing number one there as a freshman, and the competition wasn’t that good, and Max was like, ‘this school is really good you should come here’ and that’s basically how it happened,” Oliver said, adding that he also received a better scholarship here at CMU than at Averett.
Unlike the William’s sisters, Max and Oliver do not play doubles on the CMU team, but they say they are okay with not playing doubles together.
“I’m too comfortable with Max, I don’t feel the pressure to have to do good with Max but when I’m playing with someone else I’m like, ‘okay I gotta step up a little bit’” Oliver said. Max agreed.
“We [played doubles] when we were younger, but it didn’t really work, we would just blame each other,” Oliver said. “When we were winning and everything was well, everything was well but, something goes wrong and we blame each other.”
The regiment that the two brothers go through is a delicate balance between conditioning, weight lifting and stretching. If they lift weights too close to the match, they could be sore and unable to compete effectively. If conditioning is not done properly, long rallies and matches could be nightmarish tasks. A lack of or improper stretching could result in poor performance or injury.
The physical component to the game is surely present, but both brothers say that the mental game is just as important, if not more so.
“I’m able to focus and be calm on the court, don’t really let the thoughts get to you,” Max said.
“It sounds bad but I try not to care as much, obviously I care, but I try to not care so I don’t get tight, so I think that’s my strategy, to play loose and have fun really,” Oliver said.
The first conference matches in the RMAC were against Metro State University and Colorado Christian University, both at home.
Metro took the Friday match 5-4, the same score CMU beat Metro by in their last outing. The Saturday match went to CMU defeating the Cougars of CCU 9-0. Men’s tennis go on a long road stretch and will not play at home or in RMAC play until April 15 against CSU-Pueblo.