John Cameron has played and loved tennis for as long as he can remember.
Now into his 70s, he is still acing his rivals.
The West Tamworth player combined with Newcastle’s Les Darcy to win the 70s men’s doubles title at the recent NSW State Seniors Championships held in Sydney.
The pair defeated John Butler and Peter Musgrave 6-1 6-4 in the final after surviving a tight semi-final against Michael Pyne and John McCulloch.
After dropping the first set 7-5, Cameron and Darcy won the second 6-3 to send the game into a third-set tie-breaker, where they saved numerous match points before prevailing 16-14.
It’s not the first time Cameron and Darcy have successfully teamed up to win the state title.
Cameron is also a previous singles state champion, and has been a finalist on numerous occasions.
“Over the years I’ve been runner-up four times in the singles and twice in the doubles,” he said.
It made it all the more satisfying to win this year.
Cameron also contested the singles, which like the doubles was played in a round robin format.
He won two of his pool matches but went down to Pyne, who went on to win the title, 6-1 6-4.
“It was one of those matches where I guess you have to say he played pretty well but I probably didn’t play as well as the other two matches,” Cameron said.
“But overall I was quite happy with how I played.”
He had his chances in the second set to force the match into a third but Pyne pulled away.
After being hampered by knee and shoulder injuries the last couple of years, his state results continued what has been a good 12 months for Cameron.
In January he and Rob Haling reached the final of the 140-combined men’s doubles at the Australian Seniors Teams Carnival on the Gold Coast.
Then in the lead-up to the state championships he won the 70’s men’s singles at the Forster Seniors’ Tournament in August, and the 55-70 men’s singles and combined 115 men’s doubles at Gunnedah in September.
“That gave me a bit of confidence leading into state titles,” he said.
Regarded by his peer’s as ‘the gentlemen’s gentleman’ Cameron first picked up a racquet when he was seven or eight sparking a life-long passion.
“I kept playing all through the years up to now,” he said.
When asked what has kept him playing all these years he spoke about the friendships he’s made and travelling to new places that otherwise he probably wouldn’t have.
“What has been good is Tennis NSW has started up these seniors tournaments for the older players,” he said.
They have given him an added incentive to continue.
“I play pretty regularly over at West Tamworth. They’ve got a lot of players in their 40s and 50s,” he said.
“It’s enjoyable playing them but they have a bit more endurance than you do.”
“The seniors tournaments are a bit more of a level playing field.”
And while aside from the expected few aches and pains, he came through the state champs “okay”, he plans to take things a little bit quieter for a while.
“I won’t be not playing tennis but not so competitively,” he said.