Pensioner becomes oldest tennis champion at 76


John Duncan who smashed his own record when he won a tournament aged 76
John Duncan who smashed his own record when he won a tournament aged 76

By Cara Sulieman

A PENSIONER has become the oldest tennis champion in his club’s history after winning the senior doubles competition at the age of 76.

John Duncan – who is 77 next month – volleyed his way to the trophy with his partner Michael Roarty, beating players more than a quarter of a century younger than him along the way.

And he also bagged himself the record of the oldest champion in the 121 year history of Dalkeith Tennis Club.

The duo win a 6-2, 6-4 victory over senior men’s singles champion Frank Nisbet and his partner Richard Barron.


The retired senior nurse only took up the game when he was 50 and has been a keen club member for more than two decades, playing up to five times a week.

He said: “I don’t think I played particularly well in the final, but I was lucky to have a good partner.

“I’ve never been naturally athletic, but I used to play a lot of badminton before I took up tennis. I’m quite lucky in that I don’t have any illnesses.

“I do believe you’ve got to keep playing. I try and play as often as possible. I’ve got an apprehension of giving up for a few months and not being able to come back to it.

“I’m not very fussed about the record, but I hope I’ll be playing again next year. It’s a very enjoyable club – I used to live in Dalkeith and I’ve always felt a degree of loyalty to them.”


John has taken part in numerous tournaments over the years, including the handicap mixed doubles, which he won last year.

Despite being modest, other club members said that his trademark lobs and sliced angle backhands had been a major factor in his success.

The club’s president, George Archibald said: “John is absolute phenomenon. At the age when most people are opting for a life of leisure, he is still playing tennis regularly at an exceptionally high standard.

“It’s doubtful whether any member will beat his record in the next 121 years.”

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