Middle States

Friendships Made On Court

December 28, 2018
Bill Walton & Don Loff

Friendships Made On Court


Friendships Made On Court

Tennis pays no attention to age. Whether you’re younger or older when you begin, the game offers something for everyone.

The same goes for doubles partners.

“I’ve noticed that with this game, it doesn’t matter when you start,” said Bill Walton, a business and sales coach in New Jersey. “And it doesn’t matter how old or how young your playing partners are.”

Walton has experience to prove that. Growing up playing football and baseball, he spent much of his adult life playing golf as a hobby. He gave tennis a try in 2013 and, like so many, caught the bug.

“I started playing, and I realized I didn’t want to be bad anymore,” he said, laughing. “I started playing more and learning more about the sport. I watched it at every opportunity and tried to find any way to get better.”

Getting better, in many ways, came when he found people to play and practice with. ADVERTISEMENT One of those partners is Don Loff, who competed alongside Walton in June’s Princeton Tennis Classic. The two met at Trenton Country Club, where they were both spending time on the court.

Loff, 71, didn’t pick up tennis until his early 30s, and is now in his fifth decade of enjoying the game. Even with a large age gap and differing experience, it doesn’t seem to matter.

“We have a good time playing,” said Loff, who also enjoys soccer and showing horses. “Somehow, I’m playing better than I’ve ever played. Tennis has been motivating to me. I play singles and doubles, and I go to the gym a couple of times per week.”

“I’d rather play with a guy who is 20 or more years younger  than me. It keeps it interesting,” he added with a smile.

For Walton, tennis brought about an entire lifestyle change, causing him to eat smarter and focus more on his health. He credits the game with helping him lose 20 pounds, in addition to boosting relationships and building friendships. 

“It’s helped me lose weight and helped me in business,” he said. “The game is very collaborative and players are supportive of one another. There’s a huge value in that.”


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