Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tennis Love Means You're Never Too Old

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tennis Love Means You're Never Too Old

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

When creaky, old Andre Agassi plays a tennis match, all the sports writers marvel at how he still gets around on his 35-year-old knees.

Big deal.

You ought to see Ed Ginn and his pals play. They gather every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning at a pair of public courts on St. Simons Island and play the game they love. There's no rule that you have to be in your 70s to play, but it seems to work out that way.

"I've been playing since I was 11 years old. I'm getting better," the diminutive Ginn said. "I haven't peaked yet.''

At 88, Ginn figures he'll have a few years at the top of his game.

Thursday, there were 10 players for mixed doubles. They play for one point then rotate through all eight spots playing doubles, mixed doubles and really mixed doubles. They seldom get any rest. No sooner had Rufus Jones taken a seat than someone yelled, "Need a player.''

All can still run a little, but Ginn said he likes a particular kind of shot.

"Don't hit 'em at me but don't hit 'em out of my reach either. I don't want to have to move,'' he said.

Most say Ginn is the dean of the little association that calls itself Not Too Serious About Tennis, but Ginn said the league was playing when he moved to St. Simons in 1977. Ginn has far more experience with the game, having seen Bill Tilden play. Born in 1893, Tilden dominated tennis in the 1920s and died too young in 1949.

The lack of seriousness is offset by gritty determination. After a rain, they sweep and squeegee the courts dry.

"Unless the rain is coming down, we play,'' said Erwin Williams, a retired Georgia State University professor.

Jim Hargrove overcomes more than rain. He partially separated his Achilles tendon playing last year and slipped and reinjured it on a wet court. He wears a brace to keep from hurting it worse, and he's not going to quit. …

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