Tennis still a way of life for Micco resident


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Ruth Hujus, right, still plays a lot of tennis at the age of 89.

Jennifer H. Monaghan

Tennis, anyone? How about a friendly game?

Since 1987, Micco resident Ruth Hujus has had only positive responses to this invitation. She practices on average twice weekly, and she also plays in leagues and tournaments.

Hujus never played much before retirement. One day, she began hitting tennis balls against a wall. This led to an invitation from an onlooker to play with his group. Hujus and four friends then began playing doubles on a regular basis.

In 1992, that group formally formed The Friendly Tennis Club. Today, the club boasts 175 members. Most are retirees.

“Tennis is my life,” Hujus said. “I’ll be 90 in May. I’m blessed. I am here and can still play. I have to keep moving. It’s a fun form of exercise — much more fun than walking on a treadmill by myself.”

Tennis also has enriched Hujus’ social life. She has developed friendships beyond the tennis courts.

As one ages, “strength wanes, and you have to play with your brain,” Hujus said.

Being a successful player requires skill and tactics.

“I am not a super player,” she said. “I just like to play the game. I can’t hit the ball the same as younger players, but I try to keep my opponents guessing and moving.”

The importance of physical exercise cannot be overemphasized. Its benefits are associated with reduced health risks and also linked to mental health. Additionally, social activity might support brain health.

To play tennis, you only need one other person, or three if you prefer doubles, as Hujus does.

“A good partner in playing tennis is essential — good teamwork on the courts as well as in home life in crucial,” Hujus said.

Her husband of 69 years, Fred, a former tennis player, agrees.

Minimal equipment is required for the sport — a racket and some tennis balls. White tennis outfits still are common attire, although not mandatory. Comfortable clothing is recommended.

There are a number of clay courts, hard courts and practice walls in public parks, residential communities and resorts in Brevard County.

In Central Florida, the weather is nice enough to play outdoors almost every day.