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Young is His Name, But Not His Age

September 19, 2015 01:42 PM

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Fred Young, 88, and Dan Newberry, 86, get ready for another day (among many) on the courts.

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Fred Young bangs a backhand.

By Ron Cioffi/USTA Southern

Asked about his age, a member of the Georgia Men’s 3.0 team couldn’t help but make a joke. “I have to live up to my last name,” he said.

The name: Fred Young.

The age: 88 and counting.

“Everyone on my team is 67 or older,” said Gary Ruzeski, captain of Young’s Columbus-based team. “I’ve got two players in their 80s.”

Indeed. While everyone at the USTA League Adult 55 & Over Southern Sectional Championships might feel a bit older than they want to admit, Young and teammate Dr. Dan Newberry may be pushing the age envelope. Newberry is fast approaching his 87th birthday.

In a conversation with Young and Mayberry before their morning match, there were a few quips to go with the more serious discussion of playing with limited mobility and flexibility.

Question: “What strategy do you use more than you did at a younger age?” Young’s answer: “I holler ‘Yours!’ more frequently.”

While their team is relatively new, Young and Newberry go back decades. “You worked on me more than 20 years ago,” Young said. “Oh, definitely,” recalled Newberry, who retired as an anesthesiologist 19 years ago.

Both agreed that staying healthy was the key to their tennis longevity. While Young, a former U.S. Army major, said he has been blessed with good health, he is also a prostate cancer survivor. Neither player cited any notable injuries.

Newberry talked about how his game has evolved over the years. “I keep the ball in play more now. I rely more on that, not trying to overhit the ball. I lob more than before. It’s just part of the game. My backhand is better than it used to be. I don’t try to hit as hard.” Young concurred about the strength of his teammate’s backhand.

Young also cited consistency as his strategy. “I just don’t have the speed anymore,” he explained.

Both cited their long-term marriages as additional sources of strength. Newberry and his wife, Mary, have been married 64 years. Young and his spouse, Marian, were wed 56 years ago.

Whether or not the Ruzeski team captures the 55 & Over crown here, the team, which plays out of Cooper Creek Tennis Center, still has one more chance for glory; they will be competing in the USTA League Adult 65 & Over Southern Sectional Championships in Dothan, Alabama, in December.

 

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