Jones Representing United States at ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships
USTA Heart of America would like to wish 2016 USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame inductee Wilbur Jones the best of luck and safe travels as he heads to represent the United States in Mallorca, Spain at the 2021 ITF Super-Seniors World Team event. Jones is in the 80s men’s division.
The ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships is the most prestigious team event on the ITF Seniors circuit. Jones also took part in the championships in 2019. Read more about the team in 2019 here. He is the top-rated ITF doubles player in the world in the 80+ age division.
As we all know, it takes practice to get to the next level, no matter where you start. We asked Jones some questions to describe his journey.
Jones started tennis at the age of 35 with a neighbor. They purchased two Western Auto racquets to give it a try and broke them in one week. They knew they would need to up their game so they bought new racquets and he continued to play while he juggled a career as an elementary principal.
“I could forget my problems when playing tennis,” Jones said.
When asked what it takes to keep playing at his age and to get prepared for his tournament, he said, “Staying active on my farm and doing all the chores. Bailing hay, and not sitting in front of a TV all day. And, of course, playing tennis! Having good genes definitely helps also.”
He is also playing tennis three times a week and has a workout in his basement on his treadmill and bike to get ready. Needless to say, he is ready for the championships.
Jones said he has achieved more than he could have imagined playing tennis.
“I started with the goal to win a gold ball,” he said.
Well, he did that and more. In 2016, he won his first gold ball in men’s doubles with partner Bob Menees. In 2021, he won his 14th gold ball! In singles he has won three gold balls (two on hard court indoors and one on grass) In men’s doubles he has won eight gold balls with six different partners. In mixed doubles he has won three gold balls with two different partners.
In 2019, Jones was presented the "Gold Slam Award" for winning every 80’s men’s doubles event in that year. His team took third-place that same year in the Men’s 80s Gardnar Mulloy Cup team at the ITF Super-Seniors World Team Championships in Umag, Croatia.
Jones’s team leaves for Spain October 2. The first week they play as a team, two singles matches and one doubles match. The second week he will stay and play mixed doubles with Dorie Devries and men’s doubles with Bob Quall.
USTA Missouri Valley wishes Jones the best of luck and safe travels!