Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa's Farzanegan brings home international tennis title

Fred Farzanegan, 74, of Davis Islands, was part of a winning Super-Seniors team in September at the 2013 International Tennis Federation championships held in the Czech Republic.

Courtesy of Fred Farzanegan

Fred Farzanegan, 74, of Davis Islands, was part of a winning Super-Seniors team in September at the 2013 International Tennis Federation championships held in the Czech Republic.

DAVIS ISLANDS — Fred Farzanegan has won numerous tennis titles in his nearly 50 years of tournament play. But his most recent victory at the 2013 International Tennis Federation Super-Seniors World Team Championship was particularly gratifying.

That's because for the first time, he did it as part of a team.

Farzanegan captained a four-man squad to victory in the 75-and-over division at the event, which was held Sept. 9-14 in the Czech Republic. His teammates were fellow Floridian King Van Nostrand of Vero Beach, Lester Sack of New Orleans and Herman Ahlers of Las Vegas.

Not bad for a man who initially took up the sport as a way to fill an athletic void created after his college baseball career ended. He tried golf, but said it didn't offer enough action to pique his interest. He moved on to tennis and found exactly what he was looking for.

"Tennis is a great workout, but it is fun at the same time," he said.

Farzanegan's athletic background allowed him to pick the sport up quickly. The more his skills improved, the more he found himself craving the level of competition that would keep those skills sharp. He began navigating his way through tournament play, facing off against such notable up-and-comers as Bobby McKinley, Tim Wilkison and Jimmy Connors.

By age 35, this self-taught tennis player was competing nationally in the U.S. Tennis Association seniors circuit. And by age 40, he was ranked in the nation's Top 10 in his age group — a ranking he maintains.

In 1991, at age 53, Farzanegan was chosen to represent the United States at the ITF Seniors World Team Championship in England. Considered to be the senior equivalent of the Davis Cup, it is the highest-ranked event on the ITF seniors circuit and is held annually at venues across the globe. He made subsequent trips to the competition at the super-senior level (ages 60 and older), traveling to Turkey (2008), Australia (2009) and back to Turkey (2010).

While Farzanegan won the men's 70-and-over singles title in Australia in 2009, a team cup victory continued to elude him.

When he was nominated to take part in this year's ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championship, he set out to change that. The tournament pits nations against each other in set age divisions in a round-robin format. A final round determines which country takes home the coveted team cup in each division.

Farzanegan, who turns 75 in November, captained the men's team in the 75-and-over division, an age group the United States had won five straight years. "I tried not to think about continuing the winning streak and just focused on my game," he said.

The U.S. met Germany in the final round. Farzanegan led Leo Sucker 6-0, 3-0 when Sucker conceded. Sack then clinched the title with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Klaus Haas.

"It was very satisfying to captain a winning team," Farzanegan said.

In the years since he first picked up a tennis racquet, Farzanegan admits his game has changed. The focus becomes less about quick footwork and more about things such as precisely placed drop shots.

"As you get older, you begin to use your guile more," he said.

Tampa's Farzanegan brings home international tennis title 10/02/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 2:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays add another piece to bullpen, acquiring Steve Cishek for Erasmo

    Blogs

    The Rays made another deal to change the look of their bullpen, acquiring RHP Steve Cishek from the Mariners for RHP Erasmo Ramirez.

    Cishek, 31, has a 3,15 ERA in 20 games for the Mariners this season, and a 2.83 ERA over parts of eight with the Marlins, Cardinals and Mariners.

    Ramirez, who was …

  2. Why don't defensive players get more Heisman Trophy love?

    Blogs

    In a story we posted online earlier today (and coming to your doorstep in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times), I made my case for why Florida State safety Derwin James should be a preseason …

    Boston College defensive end Harold Landry didn't get any Heisman love last year, despite leading the country in sacks.
  3. On the defensive: Heisman history not in Derwin James' favor

    College

    The lowdown on Derwin James? "No offense to (Michigan's Jabrill) Peppers (a Heisman finalist last year)," ESPN analyst Rex Ryan says, "but he only wished he was the player this kid was." (Monica Herndon, Times)
  4. Kevin Kiermaier: Return to action Thursday 'didn't set the world on fire'

    The Heater

    Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier's return from the hip injury that sidelined him since June 8 could have gone better Thursday in Port Charlotte. He broke two bats and went hitless in two at bats while playing for the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs.

    Kevin Kiermaier takes cuts in the cage during batting practice before the game between the Rays and Texas Rangers Saturday at Tropicana Field. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  5. Live updates, what you need to know about Bucs training camp (w/photos, video)

    Bucs

    Bucs training camp is here.

    This morning was the first of 13 practices that are free and open to the general public, so we have all the details to answer your questions about where and when and so on.

    Dirk Koetter is nothing if not precise, with practices starting at 8:45 a.m. and running until 10:27. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]