East Texas Tennis Player Building Golden Career - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/7/06

East Texas Tennis Player Building Golden Career

He's had ulcer, shoulder, knee and quadruple bypass surgeries, and survived a battle against colon cancer. And at the age of 76, Russell Seymour is still playing tennis.  

"It's always been a battle to come back again," Seymour said, "but it's wanting to come back and do well that's made my rehab go a lot quicker then most people's would."

And Seymour isn't like most people. For starters, the South African native has a playing and coaching resume that includes the Davis and Federation Cups, and every grand slam event except the U.S. Open. And, since moving to the United States 31 years ago, he has won 71 gold balls, representing national titles on grass, hard court, and clay courts.

"Words cannot describe that. That's just amazing. That's why I admire him so much," said Hollytree teaching pro Peter Gordon, who hits with Seymour once a week, and is still in search of his first gold ball.  "He's very passionate about it and that's why I love to come out and hit with him and he drives me to do better."

Seymour's passion for the sport brought him to Tyler 25 years ago as the first tennis pro at Hollytree Country Club. He also helped establish the tennis program at UT-Tyler.

"I get as much fun out of teaching people as I do playing it," Seymour said, "so the passion is for the game of tennis."

An, even at the age of 76, the Texas Tennis Hall-of-Famer's passion for the game remains strong. He is ranked in the top ten in the world in his age division, and is set to represent the United States at the world team championships in Turkey in October, as captain of the team. But first, he will take part in the U.S. Clay Court Championships this weekend, as the top seed in singles, and number two seed in doubles, with a couple more gold balls on the line.

"It's just nice to know that you've done it," Seymour said.  "You don't have to brag about it everyday. You know you've done something, and you have an opportunity to win even more."

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