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Debaun’s Love of the Game Keeps Him Playing

October 15, 2010 02:44 PM
Bill Debaun of the Missouri Valley 4.5 Senior Men’s team.
Bill Debaun talks with teammate at the 4.5 Senior Nationals.
By J. Fred Sidhu

Indian Wells, Calif. – Despite having multiple physical ailments over the years, 62-year-old Bill Debaun of Leawood, Kansas is ready to play at the 2010 USTA League 4.5 Senior National Championships. 

On a bright, sunny October morning at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, an anxious Debaun arrived two hours early for his first match as he represented the USTA Missouri Valley 4.5 Senior Men’s team.

Debaun began playing tennis when he was 13 years old and later played collegiate tennis on scholarship at the University of Kansas from 1965-1969.

Over the years, Debaun has had a hip replacement, which required three operations, four left knee operations, one right knee operation, surgery for a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder, a hernia and an operation on his left hand.

While many players would have thrown in the racquet and stopped playing tennis, Debaun, who worked in sales and finance, has continued to play the game, even after a two-year hiatus.

"It’s (tennis) just a big a big part of my life. It’s a great social sport to meet people," Debaun said. "The most fun I have right now is team tennis. I enjoy it."

Debaun, who remodels and maintains rental properties, has had many tennis memories, including tennis trips to Florida, California, Arizona and Massachusetts.

"If I was to go back in my younger years, playing in college and doing well and winning the Missouri Valley when the tournaments were a 128-draw," said Debaun, as he spoke about his favorite memories. "The competition, I used to really enjoy that. People think they’re going to beat you and then you beat them. That was fun."

According to Debaun, this could be his last USTA Senior League event as he will start concentrating on the Super Seniors, where he qualified for next April’s Nationals. "It’s getting hard to play with the 50-year-olds, so I’m going to play the 60 Nationals (next year)," he said. 

Despite his injuries, Debaun has remained upbeat about tennis. "It’s (tennis) something that you can do you’re whole life. It’s just a great sport. There are a lot of good people in it," he said. "You get to do it most of your life."

When asked about playing in the USTA League National Championships in Indian Wells this weekend, Debaun said, "This is as good as it gets."


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