'I have a match in an hour,' John Powless says a few seconds after he picks up the phone.
On the one hand, this isn't the most surprising message a caller might hear from a tennis player. On the other hand, not every tennis player is 82 years old and answering from a hotel room in Argentina, 5,500 miles south of his Wisconsin home.
Tennis and traveling are in Powless' blood, and there's no getting them out now. Wherever in the world he happens to be, there's a good chance the No. 1 player in the men's 80-and-over division in the United States is getting ready to play a match. He starts his stretching exercises even before he's turned off his alarm at 5:00 each morning.
It's a routine that has served the former men's basketball and tennis coach at the University of Wisconsin well. A standout athlete at Murray State in the 1950s, and the owner of the John Powless Tennis Center in Madison, WI, he has been a dominant force on the USTA senior circuit for nearly three decades -- how many players, at any level, can claim that kind of longevity at the top?
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