8 November 2010 | Tennis Australia
Neville Halligan from Coorparoo, Queensland has continued his dominance of the ITF Super-Seniors World Individual events, winning his third successive 85+ singles championship, as well as his second 85+ doubles championship in Turkey last month.
Halligan, 87 years old, a member of the Gardner Mulloy Cup winning team in 2008 and 2009, cemented his position as the Number 1 ranked male in the 85+ category.
The mantra that ‘Tennis is a game for life’ is undoubtedly proven by Halligan’s passion for the sport, as well as his continued dominance.
“Yes it’s a competition, but I really just enjoy the game. It’s all about the tennis,” Halligan said.
“I play singles twice a week, and play in a fixture team. I play singles with my nephew, who is only 40 years younger, and then I play with a chap my own age.
Halligan’s sustained success has even surprised himself. Noting that all he cares about is working to deliver his best, with the end result being an afterthought.
“It’s all about striving to be the best you can be. If you’d have told me three years ago that I’d be number one in the world for three years in a row I’d have laughed out loud.”
Further proving his competitive drive however, Halligan now has his eyes set on a new target.
“There are a couple of good Americans in the 85+ age bracket, but they don’t travel. There are four Grade 1 tournaments in the States, and only one in Australia. They feel there’s no need to travel because they can get the points staying at home.
“I played in America in 2008 and won the doubles with an American. So I’m up there with them, but I’d love to be able to compete against them on the world scene.”
With 2010 now drawing to a close, Halligan is already planning his 2011 campaign.
“The big European events are in Austria in June next year, but I’m seriously thinking of going over to America next year to challenge the 85+ blokes over there. If they won’t come to me I’ll go to them.”
Elizabeth Allen from Mulgoa, New South Wales was another notable Aussie winner, capturing the 60+ singles title for the third time. Although having competed in the last World Championship, Allen went into the tournament having not played in the past year.
“I was seeded third and that was a surprise to me because last year I wasn’t seeded at all. I knew my points were down because it was the first tournament I’d managed to play in all year. From the last World Championship to this World Championship I hadn’t played in a single tournament,” Allen said.
“I felt I got a little bit better each match. A little bit of match play just seems to help your confidence a little bit more.”
Although having not played in any tournaments for the past year, Allen has still managed to stay involved in the sport she loves so much through coaching.
“I’m on the court all the time, even though I might not be playing matches.
“I’ve always had the love of the game, and that’s probably what’s kept me in tennis. I played a lot when I was young and now I do tennis coaching which helps keep me interested.
“The love of the game is what’s kept me playing more than anything. In the era that I grew up playing tennis, there wasn’t much money involved, so you just played for the love of it. That love of it is still in me and that’s probably because of coaching and because of how long I’ve been involved in the sport.
Carol Campling (Newington, NSW) and Wendy Gilchrist (Burleigh Waters, QLD) also joined the winners list, taking the 60+ doubles, and Alan Hocking (Tewantin, QLD) won the 75+ doubles with his American partner Charles Nelson.
These combined results saw Australia finish the event with five world titles, two silver medals and eight bronze medals as they boarded the plane home from Turkey.