The U.S. dominates the senior tennis circuit – with or without home-court advantage.
But at the just-completed ITF World Super-Senior team championships they had that, too.
And they took seven of the nine championships.
Held at the USTA national campus in Lake Nona, Fla. last week, the annual world championships handed out medals in nine age categories from 65 through 85.
It’s a country vs. country competition, the seniors’ version of Davis Cup and Fed Cup.
The second week of the event (going on this week) is an individual event with regular draws.
For the women: 65s, 70s, 75s, and 80-and over.
For the men: 65s, 70s, 75s, 80s and – new this year – an 85-and-over team event.
It has been only a few years since the women added an 80-and-over team event.
They might be next; as it is, two members of the Canadian women’s 80s silver-medal inning team, Rosemarie Asch and Muffie Grieve, are eligible for the 85-and-overs and are playing in that category in the individual event this week.
The legendary Rita Price, 91 (read this on an incredible life; she only took up tennis at age 50, played her first seniors tournament at 62) is playing “down” in the 85-and-overs in the individual event.
Sport for a lifetime
If you’ve not seen these super-super seniors play, it’s not only inspiring, it’s also good tennis.
They don’t move like they once did. But they can compensate with experience and anticipation.
And their stamina – even in the hottest of conditions – makes us all look like slackers.
Among the players on the U.S. 85s team is John Powless – a big, tall, strong serve-volley type who rolls on despite a couple of newish knees (he calls them “bionic” in this piece on the ITF site).
The Canadian team was led by Bob Bedard, a three-time Canadian Open champ who played his share of Grand Slams in his day.
In fact, Powless and Bedard met in the first round of the 1960 US Open, back when it was played at Forest Hills on grass.
Not on the Canadian team was former Davis Cupper Lorne Main, who has more seniors world championships than anyone.
The legendary Main was home undergoing dialysis treatments.
In the end, Canada took silver in the men’s 85s and the women’s 80s categories.
Click here for a great set of photos, taken by the go-to resource for U.S. seniors tennis, Carolyn Nichols. Thanks to her for permission to use the pics.
There are 14 in the women’s 85 singles draw; 29 in the men’s 85 draw.
US team champions
Men’s 85 Cup
Gardnar Mulloy Cup (80 and over)
Britannia Cup (65 and over)
Doris Hart Cup (80 and over)
Queens Cup (75 and over)
Althea Gibson Cup (70 and over)
Kitty Godfree Cup (65 and over)
(Karwasky, née Mochizuki, played on the WTA Tour in the 80s, when she was in her 30s. She reached the third round of singles at the Australian Open when she was 34).