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Nemechek Finds Victory and Friendship Through Tennis

March 26, 2009 10:43 AM
Bob Nemechek talking with teammates.
Bob Nemechek getting pumped with teammates.

By J. Fred Sidhu

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Playing in the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.0 Senior National Championships has become a habit for 71-year-old Bob Nemechek.

The orthopedic surgeon, who serves as captain of the Hawaii Section men’s team, is playing in his tenth national championship, with nine of those appearances coming in the senior 4.0 national championship.

Despite his age and undergoing three knee operations, Nemechek, a resident of Oahu, presents a youthful image for a player who began playing tennis when he was 42.

Competing over the years in the USTA Nationals, his team has posted two third place finishes and one fourth place result. However for Nemechek, tennis is more than just winning matches.

“I just enjoy the competition. The thing I really like (about tennis) is meeting new people,” said Nemechek, who used to serve as team physician for the University of Hawaii. “You get to play different guys at different locations. You meet people from all walks of life.”

When asked what he has gained from playing tennis, Nemechek responded, “By and large, tennis players are very nice people. To know different people and have them consider me a friend.”

Nemechek played collegiate basketball for the legendary Pete Newell at University of California, Berkeley from 1956 to 1958. According to Nemechek, many of the same moves he used in basketball are the same one he uses when playing tennis.

“The movement is critical for hitting the ball and moving side to side, side-steps and up and back,” he said. “Being alert to where your partner is and where the ball is on the court, that’s all basketball and doubles tennis.

He plans to continue to play tennis as long as he can move around the court. “It’s a year to year deal,” he said.

While Nemechek says he is “mostly” retired, he still puts in time treating children at Shriners Hospital in Hawaii.



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