Game, set and match to the oldies

I GAVE up playing pennant tennis this season on the grounds that my opponents in my over-50s division were often 20 years younger.

I might have to review that decision in light of the oldies’ success in this year’s Australian Open.

The standout, of course, was 35-year-old Roger Federer defeating his long-time rival Rafael Nadal who is five years his junior. It was a classic contest as high in tension and emotion as it was in skill and experience.

In the women’s singles, it was another 35-year-old, Serena Williams, defeating older sister Venus (36). Sisterly love seemed to get in the way of great tennis but nevertheless both had displayed brilliance in getting past younger players in the earlier rounds.

What interests me is that these senior successes were not a flash in the pan at this year’s tournament.

The men’s doubles finals featured 38-year-old twins the Bryan brothers, who unfortunately went down to opponents ten years younger. The collective age of the four players on court was 130 years.

In the mixed doubles final, it was nearly the same: the total of years was 127. The women’s doubles finals featured relative youngsters with two at 31, one at 30 and one at 29 for a total of 121 years.

That’s a collective total of 514 years on the centre court for five finals, or an average age of 32 years per player.

I bet Aussie Lleyton Hewitt, former World No 1 who retired last year at the age of 34, is wondering whether he should make a comeback.

OK, so they’re too young to be Baby Boomers but it gives us oldies some hope.

Me? I have no intention of making a comeback on the competition circuit. But I will be there tomorrow for the old boys’ social play when some of them on the other side of the net are older than me!

Len Horne

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