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For Henry, it’s 34 years and counting

October 29, 2016 09:20 PM

By Cory Kamerschak, special to USTA.com

SURPRISE, ARIZ. – When it comes to sports, there is something to be said about consistency and longevity. Steve Henry knows a thing or two about that.

Henry is in his 34th consecutive year of USTA League play and is competing at his fifth League National Championships. Not only that, this year he qualified for the National Championships in two separate divisions and was forced to choose in which one he was going to participate.

“My 18 and Over team also qualified for the National Championships,” Henry said. “But they are competing this same weekend, and with my age, I felt I would be able to contribute more to these guys.”

Henry, 56, represents the Missouri Valley region and is competing this weekend in the Adult 55 and Over 9.0 National Championships. His 18 and Over team is competing for the national title in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

This is his first time being back in Nationals since his team finished second overall in 2008. Regardless of the outcome, he always recognizes that it is an exciting time that few people get to participate in.

“It’s like one or two percent of the people actually make it to Nationals,” Henry said. “So you’re really in an elite group and just have to appreciate that you made it this far.”

If his team makes the finals or semifinals, that would be an even bigger accomplishment.

Although it’s been an eight-year drought since his last appearance here at the National Championships, nothing has changed for him. At 56, Henry said it’s all about the group of guys that you’re playing with and that he has no signs of slowing down.

“Oh I’m gonna keep on keeping on, we’re continuing to have fun and do what we love,” Henry said. “I’ve met a lot of people, seen a lot of places and have had a great journey along the way.”

Henry runs a tennis facility in Oklahoma City and said he remains focused on keeping tennis a part of his life and mentoring younger generations of tennis players.