The veterans of the Prince Pesta Sukan Tennis Championships certainly proved that old is gold in Day One of the event. They were spread out into four categories: Men’s 35+ Singles, Men’s 35+ Doubles, Men’s 45+ Doubles, and Veterans Mixed Doubles.
One is used to the idea of watching a young professional in a Wimbledon competition, but not everyone can grasp the sight of older men and women playing the game with much ease. This was however common in the first day of the Prince Pesta Sukan competition.
These veterans are no newbies to the game. Some have been playing since their teens- with the record among the competitors being twenty-five years of playing tennis. Rich with experience, these veterans displayed a mean set of skills at the courts. Even without an actual umpire, there was no lack of impressive volleys and backhand smashes that injected just a bit of tension in the otherwise relaxed atmosphere.
When asked about his strength in the sport, Sanjay Singh, coach of famous Indian tennis star, Leander Paes, immediately stated, “My volley, same as Leander.”
Physical and mental
With just technique, a tennis player is incomplete. Physical prowess and mental strength is needed to aid a tennis player in his championship journey. Age, however, is unforgiving, and the veterans commonly reminisce about the younger days where they were quicker and more agile. A repeat of double faults and delayed reactions to return a high-speed ball seemed to plague the older players.
These veterans, however, make up for their lesser physical strength with their unyielding mental strength. They have been through too many competitions and trainings and regularly tap off their match experiences to head through a match. The toughness of their minds favours no gender or category; all of them ensure they give their hundred per cent for each game. It is the vigour of this boulder of a mind that keeps spectators fixated to the sport.
It's all about having fun during and after the game (photo by Cassandra M Tan).
People wonder why these veterans continue to play tennis even after their glory days, and they have their reasons.
“Tennis has always been my first love- even my wife knows it and she plays the sport now,” Shan Andes cheekily stated. He has been playing tennis since the age of seventeen years old.
“I think it’s a good sport, it’s aerobic enough at this point in time especially now since we’re playing in the veterans. We’re playing more for exercise and with people who have been playing for years. It’s fun!” Ex national player, Shane Lim, says.
He ends off on a passionate note, hoping that more would be done to emphasise tennis as a sport in Singapore.
“I think the younger generation should learn from the experience overseas. There needs to be more overseas tournaments,” he claims, “In any possible way we should try to promote more tennis in Singapore for the good of the sport and for the younger generation.”
Be sure to catch these veterans play at the Kallang Tennis Centre as the Prince Pesta Sukan Tennis Championships continues until 28 July 2013!