They’ve come to South Florida from all corners of the world — from all of the seven continents but for Antartica — with their tennis rackets the most essential element of their baggage.
So why did they come?
They came to compete. For the next fortnight the communities of Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens in Palm Beach County will host premier international senior events.
The exciting two weeks kicked off on Monday with the 2014 ITF Seniors World Team Championships and will host the Senior World Individual Championships next week. At six exquisitely tropical venues — Ballen Isles, PGA, Polo Club, Boca West, Woodfield and Boca Grove — peppered around Palm Beach County, the 194 teams representing 38 nations began the team competition in 10 different age categories on Monday.
These are the Cups that the 10 age groups are playing for the honor of taking home: The Italia Cup for Men’s 35, The Suzanne Lenglen Cup for Women’s 35, The Tony Trabert Cup for Men’s 40, The Young Cup for Women’s 40, The Dubler Cup for Men’s 45, The Margaret Court Cup for Women’s 45, The Fred Perry Cup for Men’s 50, The Maria Esther Bueno Cup for Women’s 50, The Austria Cup for Men’s 55, and Maureen Connolly Cup for Women’s 55.
It’s true they might not be Roger Federer or Serena Williams, but don’t be fooled by the fact the large majority of the players aren’t well-known names. Although it is worth noting that there are a few former tour players competing, such as Jeff Tarango in the Dubler Cup and a tough Swiss contingent with Ivo Heuberger, Michel Kratchovil and Yves Allegro competing for the Italia Cup.
These players are definitely serious racket wielders with important playing goals to conquer. And you can be assured they will be approaching the team competition as if they are playing the Davis Cup and Fed Cup, as well as the Olympics. After all, the players taking to the courts at the Senior World Team Championships are proud to be selected to represent their nations.
But beyond the determination and fortitude that will be displayed on the court, the event also offers the best-of-the-best of international civilian tennis players an opportunity to come together in one place each year to enjoy each other’s company in the spirit of competition.
Hey, one year not too long ago the event even had one couple choose this senior get-together as a backdrop for their wedding. Will there be another wedding or a future couple who might meet for the first time during the next week? The answer to that is yet to be known.
But what we do know is that there’s going to be plenty of great tennis played, catchups between old buddies, and new friendships cemented because those are always the added advantages that come along with playing tennis.