Murray Billington (front, second from right) with other veterans who play at the Warkworth Tennis and Squash Club.
The 64 veterans at the Warkworth Tennis and Squash Club are testimony to the fact that age is no barrier when it comes to tennis.
Between them, they hold 59 national senior titles.
Club member Murray Billington attributes their success to the members who have played consistently in the senior competitions.
“We’ve had a good group of players who have come right through the various grades over the years,” he says.
Seven club members have also played in International Tennis Federation tournaments in countries such as Croatia, Turkey and France.
The club includes 26 members who are aged 70 and over, with 11 of these being in the 80-plus category.
“The biggest challenge is getting some younger veterans between 35 and 50 on board.
“There are far more players over 50 because they have less work and family commitments.”
Murray says that tennis is a game you can play for life.
“There aren’t many other sports you can play until you’re 90. Tennis provides a great opportunity for people to stay active as they get older.”
Members of the Warkworth club are also involved with the administration side of tennis.
Murray is the president of Tennis New Zealand Seniors, which is a body of 2500 players, while his wife Bev Billington is on the management committee and David Theyers is a Lower Northland selector.
Murray believes veteran players have a lot to offer to a younger generation.
“A lot of younger players want to use power to win, but a more experienced player can show them how to use variety and tactics, too.”
The club welcomes new members.