VIDEO: The 100-Year-Old Tennis Player
Many say that tennis is a game for all ages, but Argentina’s Artin Elmayan takes the meaning to a whole new level.
Born a year before the end of the first world war, Elmayan turned 100 earlier this month. Despite becoming a centenarian, he continues his passion to play tennis at his local club in Argentina. His routine see the veteran travel to the Club Atlético River every Tuesday and Thursday (sometimes the weekends too) via train. To the venue he carries a bag, a racket and a small set of balls.
Elyman’s life has been one filled with sorrow and inspiration. Born in Armenia, he lost his father at a young age during the Armenian genocide, which claimed the lives of roughly 1.5 million people. Then in his early twenties, he emigrated to Argentina, a year before the outbreak of World War Two.
“I was 21. My sister and my brother-in-law needed a trustworthy person for the administration and when they proposed it to me, I did not think it was difficult to leave when the proposal came to me. (It was a) cultural shock, but I was happy, “ Elmayan told La Nacion.
His journey into tennis began at the age of 39. Occasionally Elmayan played ‘paddle tennis’ before breaking his wrist in a bike accident. Following the injury, he opted to play tennis because it was ‘lighter’ for him. From that moment on, he never looked back.
Aged 85, he participated in a series of senior competitions in his homeland. Recording a win-loss of 12-35, it wasn’t the most successful of campaigns. Nevertheless, Elymayan was one of the oldest ever to compete. His last competitive event was in April 2015 at the age of 98.
At his local tennis club, Elmayan is remembered as a ‘an inexhaustible runner’ in his younger years. One of his admirers is Daniel Fidalgo, a renowned figure in Argentine tennis that once worked with Gabriela Sabatini.
“More than 40 years ago, when we were boys and we played in the club, no one wanted to face him because to beat him, he had to play a terrible game,” Said Fidalgo.
Setting an example for many to follow, the 100-year-old continues to inspire generations and players more than half his age. Still, he doesn’t know if he should be idolised by others.
“I do not know if I’m an example, but I insist that people do sports, and tennis can be practiced at any age, if it were for my doctor, I should have stopped it,” Elmayan said.
— Sebastián Torok (@sebatorok) 25 April 2017