Photo: Susan MullaneItalia Cup Seniors Team Champions 2012
The ITF Seniors World Championships take place in Antalya, Turkey this week, with a total of 190 teams from 31 countries competing for trophies in ten age categories. Several former professional players will be in action, including Davis Cup and Fed Cup competitors and a Grand Slam doubles winner.
The Italia Cup (men’s 35) will feature former ATP No. 75 Dinu Pescariu, who represents Romania for the first time in seniors competition after previously playing for his country in Davis Cup. Estonia’s Rene Busch, who has been awarded the Davis Cup Commitment Award after participating in 31 ties, also features in this event, as do fellow former Davis Cup players Gerald Mandl of Austria in the Tony Trabert Cup (men’s 40) and Kaarsten Braasch of Germany in the Dubler Cup (men’s 45).
The USA Dubler Cup team, led by Jeff Tarango, also contains two players who previously represented other countries in Davis Cup: Eoin Collins and Mario Tabares, who played for Ireland and Cuba respectively.
Former Fed Cup players in action in Turkey include Great Britain’s Suzanne Lenglen Cup (women’s 35) team of Karen Cross, Lucie Ahl and Julie Hobbs; Lesley O’Halloran of Ireland in the Margaret Court Cup (women’s 45); and Roslyn Nideffer, who represented South Africa in Fed Cup but will play for USA in the Maria Esther Bueno Cup (women’s 50). Nideffer can lay claim to having perhaps the most distinguished professional career among those competing next week, with two Grand Slam doubles titles and a singles world ranking of 15 to her name.
They may not boast as many star names as some others, but the French teams were dominant in the 2012 Seniors World Team Championships in San Diego and will hope to replicate their title haul in Turkey. France claimed the Italia Cup, Tony Trabert Cup, Fred Perry Cup (men’s 50) and Young Cup (women’s 40) last year, and finished runner-up in the Dubler Cup, Suzanne Lenglen Cup and Margaret Court Cup.
Other teams hoping to claim some silverware include USA, who won only the Maureen Connolly Cup (women’s 55) in 2012 despite home advantage, and Australia, traditionally strong in the 50 and 55 age categories and defending the Austria Cup (men’s 55) and Maria Esther Bueno Cup titles. Ireland and Italy, winners of the Margaret Court and Dubler Cups respectively in 2012, will also be aiming to defend their titles in Turkey.
Draws will be available here from Sunday 17 March.