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Program draws seniors to tennis

Four years ago, Linda Perry, then 63, signed up to take part in Albuquerque’s Super Senior Tennis program, offered by the Northern New Mexico Tennis Association. Up to then, Perry had never played. Which is strange, she admits, because her son, John, won the state singles title for Sandia High School in 1989, performed for New Mexico State and now teaches the game in Tucson, where he co-runs a tennis academy . At 44, he still plays competitively at a high level.

Linda Perry returns a volley in doubles play at Hoffman Park. Perry joined the Albuquerque Super Seniors Tennis program four years ago. (Greg Sorber/Journal)

Linda Perry returns a volley in doubles play at Hoffman Park. Perry joined the Albuquerque Super Seniors Tennis program four years ago. (Greg Sorber/Journal)

Linda’s baptism in Super Senior Tennis came at the Arroyo del Oso courts on Wyoming NE, where longtime Albuquerque coach Dick Johnson led things.

“When I started out, I wasn’t sure what I was doing out there. As a beginner, I was kind of lost,” she says.

Before that, she had been hesitant to sign up because she was busy as a travel agent, a field she continues to work in, now out of her home. Her inspiration to get on the tennis court came from her mother, Darlene Holliday, who was 79 when she took the Super Senior program at Highpoint Sports and Wellness. Mrs. Holliday continued to do SST for three more years. She finally stopped because of knee trouble.

Perry has now done Super Seniors three times and plans to do it again this spring.

SST lasts 12 weeks and is aimed at adults 60 and over. It’s for newcomers or those who haven’t gripped a racket in decades. The first six weeks are lessons, twice a week. That’s followed by six more weeks of round-robin play.

“It’s great fun and builds confidence,” Perry says. “I’m not afraid to hit the ball now.”

SST pushed Perry to do more. “I was taking lessons, but I wasn’t playing,” she says. She has since organized a women’s group that plays at a park.

What does son John think of Mom playing? “It’s cool. It shows that you can pick up tennis at any age,” he says.

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