10 and Under Tennis Inspires Senior Player
At the cusp of 90 years old, Henry Tiberio is still looking to bring a national championship back to New England.
Tiberio has accumulated 21 New England number one rankings in singles, ten New England number one rankings in doubles and five national top ten singles rankings in his age group. He has been ranked as high as number seventh in the world in his age division yet he’s still looking for another win on the tennis court.
“Tennis is a sport you can play your entire life,” said Tiberio. “I get a laugh out of my doctors. Most 90-year-olds they see come in with lots of problems. I’m almost 90 and I still have tennis goals I want to accomplish.”
In 2007, Tiberio competed in the National 85 singles Clay Court Championships in Pinehurst, North Carolina. The 32-draw tournament had him meeting the number one ranked player, Marvin Henderson of Texas, early in the competition. With determination, skill and support, Tiberio surprised Henderson by winning his first two sets and went on to take the tournament title.
And, he hasn’t slowed down one bit since then.
As a self proclaimed 2.0, he still plays regularly on the North Shore of Massachusetts and plans on competing in another national championship in the fall. He has been a USTA New England volunteer since 1956 and USPTA certified since 1974.
He believes the biggest tennis accomplishment that has happened since he began playing, is the development of 10 and Under Tennis.
“It’s so marvelous to see these six, eight, ten year olds hitting with topspin,” Tiberio explained. “These kids have no worries at all. They don’t worry about getting the ball over the net. They simply focus on their technique and they end up hitting these beautiful, deep, high shots.”
Tiberio is especially impressed with the way kids ten and under are learning to serve and their high level of physical fitness.
He says he has seen some children under ten serve like other 14 and 16 year olds. “I see them put all their energy into hitting the ball. If some of these kids continue practicing, they’ll develop a serve that will be impossible to return.”
Tiberio continued, “You have to be in great shape to compete in tennis. Hitting back and forth really challenges your cardiovascular system. These young kids are playing long points and having fun while doing it.”