February 24, 2010

Play for Life

Whenever I'm on a tennis court I marvel at the broad range of players taking the stage -- from children barely as tall as the net to seniors hardly able to chase down a ball. It's one of the huge draws that, unlike other sports, amateurs and professionals alike can play well into -- and often past -- their prime, and that once you start, you never want to stop.

Check out, for example, the Champions Tour which kicked off in Delray Beach this week. The eleven-tournament program which culminates in London in December attracted the likes of 1987 Wimbledon champ Pat Cash, seven-time Major winner Mats Wilander and former top-ten player Aaron Krickstein. The participants ranged in age from thirty-seven to fifty-one and boasted more than a few trophies between them. And in some highly contentious -- though still friendly -- matches, we saw some great tennis this week.

Ultimately former bad-boy John McEnroe and two-time U.S. Open champ Patrick Rafter played for the championship. True to form, neither man was broken during the almost two-hour match -- they served a combined fifteen aces and showed that, years out of the pro Tour, they still got it. Eventually it was the handsome Australian who took home the trophy, sailing through the second set tiebreak, 7-1, and taking four hundred points with him to the next round of the Tour.

Next up is the BNP Paribas Zurich Open where long-time favorites like Michael Chang, Stefan Edberg and Goran Ivanisevic will slam a few balls around. But even more important than bringing so many stars back out for the fans, the Tour proves just how much of a lifetime love this sport is. The Old Guard is still as strong and fit as the Young Guns and, in some cases, can even teach the kids a thing or two about how to play -- and how to be a champion.

And what better teachers could you possibly have?!

No comments: