Young Seniors World Tennis Championships

Young Seniors World Tennis Championships

Date coming soon

By: Harvey Fialkov | Aug 27, 2019

The U.S. Open may signify the unofficial end of the professional tennis season, but if South Florida fans still want to watch former Grand Slam participants compete for pride in their sun-splashed backyard, then come out to the upcoming International Tennis Federation Young Seniors World Individual and Team Championships.

Excluding legends Roger Federer and Serena Williams, who are still going strong into their late 30s, the two-week event will bring the best 35-to-49-year-old tennis players in the world to the magnificently renovated Miami Beach Tennis Center (formerly North Shore) as well as historic Flamingo Park.

Flamingo Park was the original site of the prestigious Orange Bowl Junior Tennis Championships where local fans could watch aspiring Hall of Famers such as Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Jim Courier, Chris Evert and Gabriela Sabatini dominate their teenage peers.

More than 32 countries will be represented in the team or Davis Cup-like competition, which consists of four players from each nation, that will run from October 19-26, while the individual tournaments (35s, 40s, and 45s’ singles, doubles and mixed) will be held from October 27-November 2.

The individual tournament is open, so any local hackers, teaching pros or coaches who want to test their skills are eligible to register. Click here for more information.

Not only are players and teams competing for gold, silver and bronze medals, but there are also cash prizes and expensive Formula 1 Giorgio Piola watches – the tournament’s title sponsor – going to the six individual winners.

A few years ago, in the Senior Worlds at Flamingo Park, fans got to watch Sweden’s Mikael Pernfors, who once knocked off Grand Slam greats Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker on route to the finals of Roland Garros in 1986.

Last year at the Young Seniors Individual tournament, they marveled at Frenchman Marcus Hilpert as he swept the gold in the men’s 45s singles, doubles and mixed doubles events. Hilpert, 48, who has won the 45s singles for three consecutive years, once got the best of 2004 French Open champion Gaston Gaudio in an ATP doubles match.

In the doubles, Jasper Smit, a former qualifier at Wimbledon in 2008, took the 35s’ title for the second consecutive year. Just nine years ago the Dutchman knocked off once-ranked 19th Pablo Cuevas (still 48th this year) in a Challenger.

Aussies David McNamara and Matthew Breen captured the 40s’ gold. Breen dispatched 72nd-ranked Cecil Mamitt in the first round of the 2001 Australian Open. Karlovic, once 14th in the world, is still ranked 80th at 40 years old. And last June, Ivo became the oldest man to win a match at Roland Garros since 1973.

Last year the Miami Open Masters 1000 abandoned its longtime home on Key Biscayne for Miami Gardens, but the ITF Seniors Tour is in the midst of a three-year deal to remain on Miami Beach.

“With the help of the Greater Miami Beach Convention Bureau we want to build up Miami Beach tennis for what it used to be,’’ said Lori Sieder, the co-tournament director along with Miami Beach Tennis Center director Martin Van Daalen. “It’s a beautiful location with an amazing history of tennis. We’re going to incorporate activities and make this a one-stop shop tennis event.

“We want to tell the world that international tennis in Miami Beach is back.’’

Most of the foreign players as well as Americans from around the country bring their entire families to the weeklong event and make a vacation out of it so they can enjoy the hotels, pristine beaches and Miami nightlife.

“When you have more than 1,000 players flying in from all over the world and many of them from this particular age group have either just stopped playing on Tour or are highly ranked in their nation, we will see extremely high-level tennis,’’ said Van Daalen, a former USTA men’s coach who has worked with icons such as Courier, Pete Sampras, Jennifer Capriati and Mary Pierce, a recent inductee into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI.

“There’s not much difference than watching professional tennis other than the players being a little bit older. Last year we saw some unbelievable matches.

“And admission is free. It doesn’t get any better than that.’’

With 128-player draws in the six singles divisions as well as 32-player draws in the seven doubles brackets (including mixed doubles), the economic impact to the community is estimated between $4 and $5 million.

“It’s a chance for our tennis fans to see great players from all over the world on your home courts,’’ said Miami Beach Commissioner John Aleman. “For the players flying in they not only will have a great environment for their competitiveness but a great travel experience as well.

“Miami Beach has incredible pristine beaches, trendy restaurants, diverse culture from the Colony Theatre to our many art museums. Of course, I don’t have to mention the nightlife which will be a good fit for the young seniors.’’

Most of the players will be staying at the tournament’s nearby host hotels: Washington Park Hotel, The Gates Hotel South Beach, the Hilton Cabana, Waterside Hotel, Chelsea Hotel and The Broadmoor. The hotels and courts are only about ten miles away from Miami International Airport.

Aleman said that the players and their families can use public transportation, grab a Citi Bike, hop on a free trolley, walk or receive a discount on Lyft.

So, if you’re starving for up-close, old-school, all-court tennis that features power and finesse without having to take out a loan to fly to New York and attend the U.S. Open, then this is a Slam-dunk event for you.


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