For Patrick Hayes and David McLeod, tennis is all about camaraderie.
The two men, who play together as a tennis doubles team, recently won the Southern Adult and Senior Hardcourt Open Championship match in men's 40 doubles at the USTA Southern Championships held in Augusta.
Since 2006, Hayes and McLeod have won seven championships as a team. They have been ranked No. 1 in men's doubles for their age division in the USTA Southern Division twice, including their current win. They were previously ranked No. 1 in 2006-2007.
When he isn't busy playing on the court, Hayes works as director of tennis and general manager at the Club at Rae's Creek. He said that he has learned how to strike a balance between his role at the Club at Rae's Creek along with his desire to keep his playing ability sharp.
"A lot of tennis coaches, they are out there on the court all day giving lessons. I find my way to stay fit and stay in shape is to do tennis tournaments," Hayes said.
Hayes is no stranger to coaching other players.
Six years ago, Hayes moved back to the area from Australia, where he was the head coach for former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash.
"I worked with him at his tennis academy and I was the program director there," Hayes said.
Prior to coaching Cash, Hayes worked for Club Med for more than 20 years.
It was after Hayes moved back to Augusta that he and his longtime friend McLeod started playing together again in double's matches.
McLeod, the owner and director of Social Inc., also believes that playing as part of a doubles team helps him keep his competitive edge.
"I started playing junior tennis tournaments when I was in 12th grade," McLeod said.
"I actually coached college tennis for three years. Starting at about age 30, I started playing adult tournaments, and I still love it as much as I ever did. I still feel like I can still compete and still get better.
"I love the physical aspect of tennis," McLeod said. "It's great for your body. It's great conditioning. And it teaches you how to be a good sport because somebody always loses."
When it comes to his doubles teammate, McLeod believes that he and Hayes both have individual strengths that complement each other well.
"Pat is very fiery, and I'm a lot calmer on the court than he is," McLeod said. "I think I can calm him down a little bit and he can fire me up a little bit.
"He has excellent return of service, and he sets me up for my strength, which is net play, hidden volleys. We've played so much together that I know his game, I know where he's going to hit the ball."
During the recent doubles championship match, Hayes and McLeod faced off against the doubles team of brothers Jean-Paul McDonough and Miche McDonough.
"That was a tough match because they are our best mates. All four of us grew up playing tennis in Augusta," Hayes said. "It's kind of difficult in the beginning to play against your mates, because the expectations are kind of high. You want to beat them and they want to beat you."
McLeod echoed Hayes' sentiment.
"We play each other all the time," McLeod said. "There's great friendship, but everybody still wants to win. That's why I love playing with them. We get out there and we push each other, and that's how we improve."