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Any rivals hoping evergreen tennis ace Dave Hawkes might ease up in his sixties should be warned: he's bouncing back to his best shape in years.
Hawkes, now 62 and with 25 national veterans' titles to his name, made two changes last year that should ensure he's prominent in Western Bay tennis for a good while yet - a move to Tauranga and a spanking new hip joint.
Even better, after the much-needed surgery he has timed his return perfectly for the biggest date on the veterans' international calendar, the ITF Super Seniors world championships in Christchurch next week.
It's obvious this legend of vets tennis will give no quarter - the competitive streak runs deep in a player who came to the Bay in the mid-1970s with a national open ranking of No 7, and is still one tough opponent in premier.
Hawkes got his first taste of "Super Vets" competition at the 2003 event in Perth, then made the trip to Philadelphia a year later where his New Zealand age group quartet notched their best result to date, finishing seventh in the 55+ grade out of 17 teams.
"I went back to Perth for the 2005 event but I was really starting to struggle with my hip, as well as an achilles problem," he explains. "Last year I had the hip surgery, taking five weeks off playing, and now I'm feeling pretty good. I reckon it takes about a year [of recovery] to get it right."
In next week's tournament, Hawkes will compete in both the 60+ teams' event from November 26-December 1 and the individuals' 60+ competition the following week. Te Puke's Tup Cox - with an amazing 35-odd vets' titles to her name - will captain the women's team in the 65+ division.
There's the strong sense those recuperative weeks off-court would have been grudging ones for the patently fit, bright-eyed sexagenarian, who has lived and breathed sport since his Wellington childhood.
With his father making the New Zealand Universities rugby side and his mother a Taranaki tennis champion - and provincial rep in hockey and badminton to boot - Hawkes was always going to aim high. Raising the bar further was brother Richard, five years his senior, who was to play Davis Cup in the national team in 1962, 1968 and 1969. Still well remembered in sport circles, Richard passed on in 2001.
The pair played for Wellington together in what was a 10-year stint for the younger brother and his junior days saw him beating the likes of schoolmate and future New Zealand great Onny Parun.
Modest by nature, when pushed Hawkes reveals he has at some time claimed the scalps of such hotshots as Davis Cup and pro legend Russell Simpson, and Richard Hawkes' 1962 Davis Cup teammate John Souter. However, the sibling rivalry was one situation he didn't quite get the better of, he recalls: "I never managed to beat my brother at singles - though it was always very close."
Brief national honours did come, though, with selection into the New Zealand team alongside his brother for matches in Victoria in the mid-'70s.
Relocation to Whakatane at that time brought an all-round change of pace. "I took over a milk run ... On-court, I found I had an edge over players [in the Bay] due to the toughness of tennis in Wellington."
The facts speak: Eastern Bay played Western Bay several times annually and it was 10 years before Hawkes lost in singles.
While in the Eastern Bay, Hawkes also began investing in property, an interest that continues to provide principal income.
Now turning out for Tauranga Lawn in premier, he's unfazed by rivals almost a quarter his age: "It's probably more disconcerting for the young guys, coming up against this older bloke. They play a different game, though, lots of topspin and they don't go to the net as much."
By confession not a big-serving player on-court, Hawkes has certainly been strong on administrative service, including seven years as BOP tennis president and a long stint as Bay selector. Hawkes won recognition for his all-round efforts when named New Zealand veteran of the year in 2004.
A grass-court aficionado, the prospect of hard surfaces at Christchurch doesn't inspire him but the standard of competition can't fail to. "Some of the international vet players are effectively pros. They're just machines, they can hit every ball back."
It's just the kind of thing countless frustrated opponents must have said about Hawkes over the past five decades.