ITFWorld spring 2021

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ITF World Spring 2021 43 Pinterova's career was put on hold following the birth of the couple's son, Karim, in Alexandria in 1976, while when she returned to the court she was unranked and forced to "start from the bottom". Form and results steadily improved and in 1981 she claimed her second Tour- level title at the Japan Open in Tokyo, a victory she remembers with huge fondness and a sense of vindication also. "This was the crown of my efforts. The draw was full of rising young stars and me – a 35-year-old mother from Budapest – but by the end of it I had the trophy," she added. Pinterova's playing days continued until she neared 40, from where the door to a brave new world opened. By this stage her husband, Andras, was not only Hungary's Davis Cup captain but also President of the Hungarian Senior Tennis Association. It was he who persuaded Pinterova to continue her tennis odyssey on the ITF Seniors Tour, which not only provided a new lease of life but also fresh trophy-winning potential. Her first World Championships were in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany in 1987 where Pinterova was crowned singles and doubles champion, and it has been a similar narrative ever since. Over the years and through the differing age groups, Pinterova, who was due to hit with American President George Bush during his visit to Hungary in 1989 only for bad weather to intervene, has won 11 World singles titles, five in doubles and one team gong. In addition, she has scooped 24 European titles across singles, doubles and mixed doubles, including some alongside Andras. "Seniors tennis is wonderful from the moment you start and it gives former professionals like myself the chance to enjoy the special feelings of tournaments again and again," said Pinterova, who was named a European Lifetime Senior Champion by Tennis Europe in 2008. "The age categories change every five years, so you will meet players from the same age group. But if you think it will be easier when you start playing in your new age group, you are mistaken. We get older together. "But the balls still have magic and can give everybody satisfaction; one well-executed shot can change you for a moment into Roger Federer. It is right that tennis is a part of life; it helps everybody to live healthier and longer." Her competitive quest may be at its end, but Pinterova has trodden a hugely rewarding path and one which has provided memories to cherish and life-fulfilling opportunities which may otherwise have lain undiscovered. Happy retirement, Marie. n Top Pinterova contes ng the semi-finals at the Rome Interna onal in 1975 Below Winning a mixed doubles event in Alexandria, also in 1975 Further news, interviews and articles from the ITF Seniors Tour, including the latest rankings and 2021 calendar, can be found on the ITF website or by clicking here

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