You may think you are too old to take up or continue to play the sport of tennis. Oh sure, you think, I could stand out on the court and exchange a few easy volleys, but I couldn't enter a tournament and compete. Let's look at the facts.
At 39, an age at which many consider a professional athlete to be too old, Jimmy Connors competed in the U.S. Open, where he played himself into the semifinals before losing to Jim Courier.
In 2003, at age 46, Martina Navratilova became the oldest person to win a major title when she won the mixed doubles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. That same year she won a match for the American team at the Feb Cup, keeping perfect her record in international play (39-0).
The Outback Tour is a competition for former top-ranked tennis players in their 30s and older. Recently at his first Outback Champion Senior event, John McEnroe, 49, beat Aaron Krickstein, 40; Jim Courier, 37; and Pete Sampras, 36, to win his first competition on the Tour.
Sheila Johnson made headlines playing NCAA Division II tennis for Grand Canyon University at age 60. Not only did she play, but she excelled. Her 13-5 record in singles matches in 2008 was a team best.
Not convinced yet that there is hope for you?
Lee Burling of Oswego, New York, played in her first national tennis competition at age 45. This past year, now 76, she won her 41st age-group title with her partner Nancy Reed with a victory in the 75-79 age group doubles competition at the National Women's Clay Court Championships in Houston, Texas.
Denmark's Harry Meistrup started playing tennis in 1912 at age 13. According to the Guiness Book of Records, at age 104, he was the oldest tennis player (and longest playing) in the world. It is said that he usually plays competitors in their 30s and 40s because the 60-year-olds can't keep pace with him.
The USTA (U.S. Tennis Association) has local leagues and competitions where you can compete in your age group or based on your skill level or lack thereof. It's obvious that too old and not good enough are no longer valid excuses. You have to come up with new ones or get into the swing of things.
For more info, go to www.USTA.com
--Ed Mayhew is a speaker and the author of Fitter After 50 and Fitter for Life www.FitterForLife.com