Brothers play farewell tour

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Queenstown’s tennis brothers are courting new lives apart.

Riki and Ben McLachlan left on Tuesday for a two-month mission to six European junior tournaments – ending with the Wimbledon Junior Open on June 27, where they’re both eyeing a spot.

It’s their highest-level tour yet and the last that 18-year-old Riki and 17-year-old Ben, ranked 50 and 83 respectively in world junior tennis, will do together for some time.

In August, Riki will start a four-year sports scholarship at the University of California’s Berkeley campus – worth about $NZ58,000 annually.

The elder McLachlan plans to study sports management and international business at the top-tier college, alongside an intense training and playing schedule.

Queenstown-based Ben will complete Year 12 by correspondence then hopes to go pro.

“It’s going to be a bit different for sure,” Riki says of the impending split. “We’ve trained together every day for the past five years.”

The brothers’ long-time coach Lan Bale worked at Berkeley before moving to Queenstown in 2002.