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USTA League National Championships

Kessler proving tennis is a sport for a lifetime at USTA League Nationals

September 30, 2012 12:51 PM
Even in his seventies, Herbert Kessler of USTA Eastern is winning high-stakes matches.
The 73-year-old Kessler has a close relationship with his coach and potential son-in-law, Ed Poole.
By Noreen Javadi, special to USTA.com

A motto of the USTA is that tennis is a "sport for a lifetime." Look no further than Herbert Kessler as an example to prove that expression.

The 73-year-old Kessler is a member of the Eastern Section 2.5 team  from Westfield, N.J., which is playing this weekend in the USTA League National Championships at the Mission Hills Country Club.

This is Kessler’s second appearance in a USTA National Championship. In 2010, he won a key doubles match to help his team advance to the semifinals at the National Championships.

Ed Poole, coach of the Eastern Section men’s 2.5 team remembers that day as if it had happened yesterday.

"Herb made a real contribution to advancing the team to the semifinals in 2010," Poole said.

 "It came down to the final match. It was one match apiece.  In order for us to qualify for the final four, Herb and his partner HAD to win their match, and sure enough, in a very, very grueling second set tiebreak, they won it!" Poole said.

Two years later, Kessler still plays a vital role in the team’s success and their run to this year’s National Championships.

"We were able to advance because of Herb," Poole said.  "Herb continues to make great contributions to this team, without him, we wouldn’t even have qualified."

Competing in USTA League tennis and playing in the Nationals has been an enjoyable experience for Kessler.

"I love it here. I’m here with a nice bunch of guys, with Coach Ed, who is my daughter’s boyfriend, my daughter and my wife, so it’s a family thing. I’m very happy, I’m feeling good!" Kessler said.

Playing in a USTA League tennis program has been a positive experience for Kessler.

"I usually end up playing guys 30 to 40 years younger than I am but, I’m in good shape and I’m having fun," he said. "It’s a challenge and I’m so grateful that here I am -- 73 -- and I’m feeling fine. I enjoy playing tennis and I still want to get better."

When Kessler was asked if he ever considered joining a Senior League, Kessler quickly responded, "I’m not ready for that yet, maybe when I’m 80!"


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