August 2, 2021


World News

Europe’s oldest tennis player keeps serving at 96

Age is just a number for Leonid Stanislavsky from Kharkov, who at the age of 96 is the oldest active amateur tennis player in Europe. The ageless sportsman showed off his skills and talked about his longevity at the Unicourt tennis club in his hometown. “I have been playing for myself as an amateur for my whole life. I enjoyed tennis and got physical exercise. I also played other sports that were available to me,” Stanislavsky explained. Having played at several world championships, sometimes against players 10-15 years younger than him, from next year the International Tennis Federation, the governing body of world tennis, has decided to create a new age group for Stanislavsky and his peers. “This year I received a message from the ITF saying that, at my suggestion and supported by the Unicourt tennis club and the Ukrainian Tennis Federation, they decided to establish a new age group for 90-year-olds in 2021. So now I will play in the group aged 90+ years.” The senior’s recipe for a long and healthy life is simple: get off the couch and start moving. “I am an old man at age of 96, and I recommend to all elderly people not only to eat sunflower seeds and play chess sitting on a bench but to do exercises in the morning and walk every afternoon.” His coach and head of the Unicourt tennis club, Valery Burko, shared an anecdote as a way of explaining how the nonagenarian’s mind ticks. “The sun was beating down on the court and it was 40 degrees [Centigrade] when I shouted: ‘Leonid Yakovlevich [Stanislavsky], here are the journalists from Kiev asking for you.’ He glanced at his watch and said: ‘Give me 15 more minutes, I am practicing.’” (