Back In The Game
Claudio Gonzalez ’87, a former All-American tennis player who led the Shoremen to the College’s first appearance in the NCAA Division III national tennis tournament, has proven he still has his chops on the court.
After a seven-year hiatus of recreational tennis with friends in Mexico City, Gonzalez recently recommitted to playing competitive tennis, training hard in the gym and playing a couple of hours every day after work. He began to play in some tournaments with younger players in his area but says he fared better in the 45+ tournaments—and his game continued to improve.
“In my age group I played only three tournaments,” Gonzalez explains. “In the first one I lost in the semis. In the second one I lost in the final, and in the third one—the most important tournament in Mexico (the Seniors National Championships)—I ended up the winner in singles and doubles. With the points of these three tournaments I ended up number one in the nation in 45+.”
As the number one, Gonzalez was invited to represent Mexico on the four-man national team participating in the Seniors World Championships in San Diego in early February. The senior tennis equivalent of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup competitions drew 1,000 athletes from 35 countries to California.
“We did not perform that great as a team,” Gonzalez admits, losing 2-1 to Sweden and then 3-0 to England in the first group stage. The business executive won his singles vs. Sweden and lost to England. In the second group stages his team team beat Turkey, Moldova and Germany, and Gonzalez won his singles against Turkey and Germany.
As one of about 100 singles players at the World Championships, Gonzalez advanced to the round of 32s, where American Karl Clark handed him the loss.
With an International Tennis Federation ranking of 44 among seniors 45 and older, Gonzalez is starting to train for next year’s World Championships to be held in Turkey.
“This tourney is in clay and it will be my first year in the 50+ bracket,” says Gonzalez. “These two things will play to my advantage.”