Local man wins international tennis event at 86
Albert Lyle won gold in the International Tennis Federation Super-Seniors World Team Championships
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s not every day you can catch a person in their 80s running around a tennis court. But that’s exactly what Albert Lyle does multiple times a week.
“I was in my 30s when I first started,” Lyle said. “I was real into it at first, and kinda played off and on. I really started practicing and working on my game when I was 60.”
For Lyle, playing tennis in his 60s was easier than it is now.
“Particularly in the heat, it’s harder to play. I get tired some,” he said. “When I first started practicing with a ball machine, I’d hit for two hours if I could, if it was available. Now, about 45 minutes is good.”
At 86, Lyle still moves very well. However, as you can imagine, there are not a whole lot of people his age for him to play against, so he often faces opponents who are 20-30 years younger than he is.
“They’re a lot faster than I am, they get to all the balls, and it’s really a challenge,” Lyle said.
Lyle can hold his own against his younger opponents, and that helps him when he plays against people his own age.
Earlier this month, Lyle traveled to Mallorca, Spain, to compete in the International Tennis Federation Super-Seniors World Team Championships.
Lyle and his three teammates, Jerald Hayes from Carmel, IN, Lester Sack from Laguna Woods, CA, and Wilbur Jones from Shawnee, KS, won gold in the 85 & Over category.
Lyle called the experience special.
“When they presented us with gold medals, and they played the national anthem, that was quite an interesting treat; to stand on the stage and have the national anthem play when we were presented the medals,” he said.
In fact, the whole trip was something he’s dreamed of for a long time.
“I really had, for the last several years was a goal, to make this National Cup team,” Lyle said. “I made it this year, so that was good, so I might not play as many tournaments next year.”
However, despite achieving his main goal, Lyle has another one to chase.
“Well, I think I’ll keep going,” he said. “I haven’t won a gold medal in the national championship, and that’s a goal.”
There’s a lot that keeps Lyle going, but as long as he can play, you better believe you’ll be able to catch him at the courts.
“There are some people around here that say I’m an inspiration to them, so that’s good,” he said.
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