McArthur Rigby proved he still had a lot left in the tank this past weekend.
The YMCA tennis instructor, along with two other veteran players, travelled to St. Lucia to compete in the 2018 Peter Phillips Veterans Tennis Championships.
There, Rigby went on to become the top veteran in the 60 and Over category. The tournament featured veterans from around the globe, including the Caribbean, United States and Canada.
The tournament has been in existence for a number of years and this was Rigby’s first time taking part in the competition.
“It was really a good tournament,” he expressed. “I haven’t played singles in 30-plus years, honestly. So I figured since I’m coaching at the Y, let me go and see where I am. In my first round I won 6-0, 6-3. Then I won my semi-final round and ended up playing a gentleman named John Long from Canada. I beat him 6-4, 6-1. “I also played with Marlene Henry in the mixed doubles. We got as far as the quarter-finals. We lost to the top team, which turned out to be a really, really good match. Her and Sandra Bass also played in the ladies’ doubles, and they played really good. They lost in a seventh set tiebreak.”
Rigby admitted that he originally planned to compete in the championships last year and had put in a lot of work leading up the tournament. But, he was unsure of what the competition would be like.
Before he left for St. Lucia this past Friday, the veteran noted it was simply all about strategy to put himself in the best position to be competitive, versus flat out winning.
The rest was history.
“I left here knowing that if I played a certain way that I had a chance of at least looking like I could play, not necessarily winning. My plan was just to go out there and perform to the best of my ability. I just stuck to the same game plan and it worked really, really, well.”
Along with his recent experience, Rigby added that he has advocated for more senior players to be competitive. He explained that if juniors were allowed to see more local veterans compete in meaningful games, it would give the upcoming generation of racket swingers added motivation.
He noted that more senior competitions, locally, would provide more opportunities for seniors to push themselves.
“I really believe the future is the junior level. I’ll always believe in that. But if you forget the seniors then you forget the history, so the children would have no one to follow. The young kids have no one to see play, they have to watch the television and see everyone else play because they don’t believe the seniors can play.\“I believe we need to have that, locally. I believe there is a national senior tournament in Nassau. And if so, and they want the senior nationals to grow then they have to look at bringing it here or to Eleuthera - anywhere there is a tennis court.
“And when you have tournaments for the older players, it keeps them competitive. I think the most fascinating thing for me over there (St. Lucia), was seeing 79 senior people saying ‘hey I can challenge myself’ and give it their best efforts. The courts were filled up and everyone was cheering. I thought it was really fascinating, because I really believe in the senior people challenging themselves.”