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Never Too Late To Play

When she picked up her first tennis racquet at 38 years-old, Dori DeVries never imagined that she would be a part of 18 U.S. teams and counting. Living in Reno, NV, Dori has traveled the world thanks to tennis, and it was no surprise when she flew to Orlando, FL, this past October, as a member of Team U.S.A. for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Super-Seniors World Team Championships.

DORIS HART CUP WINNERS (80 AND OVER) L-R: Burnett Herrick, Carol Wood, Dori DeVries, and Roz King.

Dori joined Team U.S.A. with best friend Roz King, along with Burnett Herrick and Carol Wood. Team U.S.A. cruised to the finals without losing a match, before toughing it out against a spirited Canadian team. “I won my singles in the finals but Roz lost hers, so we had no choice but to win the doubles,” Dori laughed. In the end, the best friends prevailed, winning one of the seven cups Team U.S.A. brought home, out of nine possible trophies. On top of being World Team Champions, Dori reached the finals in the ITF Super-Seniors World Individual Championship, losing to her best friend Roz King 6-4, 6-4. “I’ve struggled against her this year and even though she is my best friend, I’m tired of losing now,” Dori said laughing. When the best friends teamed up in doubles they advanced to the semifinals! And she was quick to say, “I didn’t do as well as I wanted to, I always want to win!” She might be 80 years-old, but her competitiveness is never far away, along with her sense of humor.

31 countries represented on one court during the 2017 ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships opening ceremony.

However, while talking to Dori, it was clear that trophies are not why she plays the game; it’s just an added bonus. Being part of Team U.S.A. is something she never imagined she would do, but she will always be grateful for the opportunity. “I will always remember the first time I put on the U.S. vest,” Dori says with a crack in her voice. “I remember it like it was yesterday and you can’t help but feel pride and honor.” Since Dori didn’t start tennis until she was 38 years-old, being selected on Team U.S.A. didn’t happen until she was 60 years-old! “I’m a perfect example that things can happen at any age, and it’s never too late,” Dori joked. As we talked about her experience with Team U.S.A. this past October in Orlando, I had to ask about what it was like to be a part of the opening ceremony. For those of you who do not know, before every World Team Championships start, all the participating teams march one after the other, just like at the Olympics. Dori replied right away, “It’s simple, the ceremony always gives me goosebumps, no matter how many times I’ve done it.” Check out a video of the opening ceremony here. 

Beyond her incredible tennis career which has seen her accomplish the “Grand Slam” twice (winning all four national tournaments, last year in singles and the year before in doubles), Dori is incredibly humble and plays for the simple love of tennis. “My best friend called me up one day and asked if I could fill in on her team, and even though I had never touched a racquet, I said yes,” Dori remembered. “I picked up a racquet from a neighbor, started hitting on a wall and from that day on, I was hooked. There is no other word to describe it, there is a hook to it and you can’t let go!” Dori expressed her gratitude toward tennis, which gave her experiences she wouldn’t have enjoyed these past 20 years. “I have friends and have traveled all around the world thanks to tennis,” Dori reflected. “But one thing I always say is that I love the people of tennis even more.”

Dori has always looked beyond the game and is proof that tennis is the sport of a lifetime. “I mean where do you find 60, 70 years-old people so full of life?”

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