By Dave Ricci email@example.com
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — The Nick and Niko Show is looking to extend its run for as long as possible.
Longtime friends on the Kenmore West tennis team, Nick Atallah, a junior and senior Niko Mancuso will be looking to end on a memorable note as the two will represent the Blue Devils in the NFL doubles tournament that is being played at Grand Island High School, today at 9am.
Though Atallah and Mancuso have spent the bulk of the past two seasons as the Blue Devils first and second singles players the two have teamed in the past. So their combination of experience together, exceptional skill and a natural chemistry will make them a formidable duo. In fact, Blue Devils coach Lisa Siegel believes her tandem should rank as one of the favorites.
“I think their record as singles players shows that they’re both dominant forces,” she said. “I think when you put them together it looks really good on paper and it’s going to look real good on the court. When they get out there they should be one of the top doubles teams, so they should represent. This is Ken West’s time to have a really strong doubles team in the NFL tournament and hopefully a representation for sectionals.”
Having a history of playing doubles together, Atallah and Mancuso teamed in the NFL doubles tournament two seasons ago. Both believe that teamwork will return quickly and be even better.
“We’ve played with each other in the past,” Mancuso said. “We have two different styles of games, so we compliment each other very well. I’m excited to see what we can do and hopefully we have a pretty good shot at winning the tournament this year.”
Each bringing something different to the table, Mancuso brings a solid, consist approach in his game while Atallah has some of the most powerful strokes in the NFL.
“Nick brings a lot of power and strength,” Mancuso said. “He’s consistent,too. He’s a really good player so he’s great to have as a partner.”
Siegel said the mix of Mancuso’s finesse and Atallah’s power should give them that balance to where Nick can put away points while Niko pushes opponents into unforced errors.
“I’m totally excited see the two of them play because both of their styles of game should mesh really, really well,” said Siegel.
Atallah, who went to the NFL singles tournament last season, said he’s looking forward to teaming with Mancuso once again.
“I think singles, it was definitely different last year going by myself than my first year when I had Niko going with me,” said Atallah. “So it’s going to be better having someone going with me. That’s why I like doubles. You have someone to support you and be with you if you have a bad day or anything like that.”
While Atallah, Mancuso and Siegel believe the two won’t need much time to recapture their timing as a duo, Siegel planned on having them matched as the Blue Devils first doubles team in their match against Niagara Wheatfield on Thursday to help them regain that feel for being partners.
For Mancuso, with his high school days fading and college at UB in the future, going out as an NFL doubles champ and going to sectionals with Atallah would be the perfect way to cap off his career.
“I’m really excited,” said Mancuso. “It’s my last year, especially (going) with Nick, he’s a really great partner. So I think we’re going to have a lot of success.”
Though Atallah knows he has one more year of high school sports and he said he’s going all out for Niko to help make his final season a memorable one. Because he knows Niko would do the same for him.
“Hopefully we should be at the top this year and get to sectionals this year for Niko for his last year,” Atallah said.
That’s just the way the Nick and Niko show rolls.