ITFWorld Spring 2022

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ITF World Spring 2022 41 George McCabe of the United States, meanwhile, is currently ranked No. 2 in the men's singles having enjoyed a stellar career with plenty of silverware. His most recent triumph came at the Raymond James Super Senior Grand Prix in St. Petersburg, Florida. "Playing in the 90+ group has been great," McCabe, whose last singles defeat came in December 2019, tells ITFWorld. "I play 4-5 days a week and run with my dog twice a day. It provides me with something to do since my wife passed away five years ago. "I play Super Seniors tennis because I love the sport and enjoy the competition. In the 90+ group, it is fantastic that there are players who still want to compete. As long as my legs keep working, I'll still be playing, and I reckon I have at least 4-5 more years left in me. "I began my career in Super Seniors tennis at 66 years of age. It wasn't until I reached 75 that my game really improved, and I was picked to play for the United States in the 75+ group at the ITF Super Seniors World Team Championships in Turkey. "My favourite moment was my second year in the 75+ group when I was picked to play with the team going to New Zealand [in 2007]. After the team competition, I played the doubles at the Individual World Championships alongside Max Byrne of Australia. "We beat Lorne Main and Ken Sinclair in straight sets. Since then, I have won a total of eight world doubles titles and one world singles title. Tennis has been good to me." The stories of those who play Seniors tennis are simply fascinating. Take Great Britain's Leonard Lawrence, who is 92 years old and ranked No. 3 in the 90+ age category. "I first hit a tennis ball when my friend and I purchased Dunlop Maxply rackets and a box of white tennis balls," Lawrence tells ITFWorld. "We went to the local park and hit the ball over the net. We did not know the terms volley, smash or Far le Ukraine's Leonid Stanislavskyi is one of the stars of the 90+ age group. He is pictured here with Czech Republic's Vladimir Bruna a er their match at the 2021 ITF World Super Seniors World Individual Championships in Mallorca, Spain Above, le and below (far le ) The 30+ age group has given players in their early to mid-thir es the chance to compete in an organised tournament circuit. Slovakia's Tibor Kovacs, Magdalena Zurek of Poland, Germany's Eileen Aranas Roth and Jan Marek of Czech Republic all fall into that category Below Czech duo Stanislav Hlavsa and Vladimir Honomichl competed together in the 90+ category at the 2021 ITF World Super Seniors World Individual Championships From August 2022, the ITF Seniors Tour will be re-named the ITF World Tennis Masters Tour. The ITF is excited to launch this new approach, which will offer a great opportunity for the ITF, member nations, tournament organisers and event partners to enhance the promotion of this fantastic Tour. Feedback is clear that the new branding is more relevant to all players, but particularly to those in the younger age groups, who the ITF are keen to attract to play on the ITF World Tennis Masters Tour alongside its existing older player groups. lob and I can't remember if we even knew how to score. "The first time I saw tennis being played properly was in 1946 when the first Wimbledon since the war was shown on Movietone News. "By then I had stopped playing tennis because I had joined a youth club and was besotted with table tennis. I used to play 10 days a week and became a premier division player. "I did not take up tennis properly until I turned 35. I now wish that I had taken up tennis much sooner because I think I would be a better player than I am now." In fairness, he has not fared too badly – in fact, he is trophy laden. Lawrence suggests his most cherished memory is winning the doubles alongside the late John Draper at the 2015 ITF Super Seniors World Individual Championships in Umag, Croatia. He reached the 90+ singles final at last year's ITF Super Seniors World Individual Championships where he succumbed to France's Henri Crutchet, although if Lawrence has anything to do with it, there is plenty of time to avenge that defeat. "The reason I play ITF Seniors is because I have a competitive nature and enjoy a challenge," he added, and long may that continue. Once again tennis is showing itself to be a sport for life. n SENIORS

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