“Until My Body Tells Me to Stop”: 74-Year-Old Gail Falkenberg Dreams to Win on Professional Circuit

Published 05/04/2021, 7:30 AM EDT
A general view inside the Wimbledon Number 1 court with the new fixed and retractable roof after the Wimbledon Spring Press Conference 2019 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on April 30, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


You can probably tell her age from her wrinkles, but certainly not from the way she moves on a tennis court! Call her a freak of nature but inside Gail Falkenburg’s aging body lives a young heart that nurtures a dream — to return to the professional circuit.

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The super granny who once ranked 360th in the world is not only going strong at 74 but has returned to tennis after a gap of more than three years.

Gail Falkenburg lost ITF qualifier on return to tennis

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Though she failed to clear the first round of qualifiers for an ITF event in Florida, suffering a double bagel loss (6-0, 6-0 margin of victory), it couldn’t shake her spirit and resolve to keep chasing her dreams on the tennis court.

Falkenburg says apart from her weary knees, she’s fine

Speaking to French daily L’Equipe, the 74-year-old Falkenburg declared, “I can still win a pro game.” She added that she may be in her seventies but is in “great shape”.

(Quotes have been translated)

The American said that apart from the fact that her knees do get weary at times, she is in fine fettle to compete. She added that she has no bad habits or addictions and takes no substance to boost her performance on the court.

“I’m 74 years old, but I’m in great shape! Apart from my knees, a little tired, everything is fine. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t take drugs,” Falkenburg said.

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Stressing that she has the game and fitness to win a match on the professional circuit, the super granny says she will play on as long as she can’t anymore.

“I will continue to play until my body tells me to stop. I can still win a pro game,” the 74-year-old said.

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For the likes of Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Roger Federer, who are at a crossroads of their glorious careers, she stands as the biggest example of how to shut one’s ears to detractors and naysayers and just carry on.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

854 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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