A heart attack is a scary experience and most often when it happens to anyone, they would ease back on their activities.
Not Gord Verge, one of Oceanside’s decorated master tennis players. The 83-year-old tennis instructor continues to engage in the sport he is so avidly passionate about despite suffering a heart attack more than a year ago. He has no plans of quitting tennis just yet.
And during the Canada Day weekend, Verge competed at the 2017 Grass Court Classic in Cowichan where he emerged victorious.
The grass courts in Cowichan Valley is one of the oldest lawn tennis clubs in the world. The tournament, which drew 129 competitors, is a prelude to the weeklong International Vancouver Island Grass Court Championships that will be held on July 24-29.
Playing against younger players in the 75 age group, Verge captured the singles title by besting Gene Lake of Victoria 6-1, 6-1. And he still wasn’t done.
Verge, who also coaches the Ballenas Secondary Whalers tennis team, later paired up with fellow Oceanside player John Hilton-Foster, who was the top gun in his 70 age group. Hilton clinched the singles title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Charles Ayers of Cowichan Bay.
The two competed in the 70-75 age group men’s doubles and were tested to the limit in the final by John Lapointe from Mexico and Chuck Hearey from California. After a more than 2 1/2 hour marathon match that went into a tiebreaker, Lapointe and Hearey prevailed 6-3, 6-7(4) , 10-8.
“I was a bit worried there that I kinda extended myself a bit,” said Verge. “It was a really good match.”
It was a triumphant comeback for Verge, who took time off from competitive tennis after the heart attack. He also suffered one 23 years ago.
He often competes in provincial, national and international events.
The Cowichan grass court tournament is one of his favourites.
“I enjoy playing on grass,” said Verge. “It is easier on the body than playing on a hard surface. The grass was in excellent shape.”
Verge plans to return to Cowichan for the 130th VI Grass Court Championships. He will enter the singles competition and also in the men’s doubles, this time pairing up with 87-year-ol Loren Maine, who is considered to be the Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal of men’s senior tennis here in Canada. Both Maine and Verge have won doubles titles internationally.
“I am looking forward to teaming up with him again,” said Verge.