Chiropractor wins Men’s 75 Doubles tennis championship

Chip Travis and a partner took the trophy in National Senior Men’s Tennis Association beating12 other teams to take top-ranking award.
Chip Travis and a partner took the trophy in National Senior Men’s Tennis Association beating12 other teams to take top-ranking award.

Chiropractor Robert (Chip) Travis and his tennis partner, Jim Parker, recently took the trophy for the 2019 Men’s 75 Doubles Champions, sponsored by the National Senior Men’s Tennis Association. The NSMTA Super Senior Doubles Championships were held Jan. 9-12 in Naples, Florida.

Although Travis adheres to a strict regime – eating healthy, lifting weights and playing tennis five times a week – he said he only had a month to prepare for the tournament. “I worked with former tennis pro Bill Gatlin, went to the chiropractor, got massages and went to a hypnotherapist – a physical, mental and emotional workout,” he said. 

Travis and Parker, who are long time acquaintances as teammates and former tennis coaches at Rice University in Texas, have played doubles together only once before and had only one practice session before starting the tournament. 

“Jim lives in New Mexico. He flew in, I met him at Naples the afternoon before the tournament and we hit a few balls, but he was shaky,” recounted Travis. “Now this is a guy who has been No. 1 in the world in every age division. But the difference in the 7,000-foot altitude of New Mexico, playing inside versus playing at sea level in the sun and wind – it was really getting to him. Bill Gatlin, who had been coaching me and encouraging me, advised me to just play steady, but I realized I’d have to play more aggressively. If we lost, I knew everyone would blame me. I didn’t want it said that Jim Parker lost because he was playing with a one-legged guy.” 

Travis lost part of one leg in 1970 in a Navy jet crash when the plane he was piloting, an A3-D dual engine aircraft, broke a rudder during a single engine landing training session. Later he had knee replacement surgery on the other leg, but is not one to let the loss of a limb slow him down.  

In the finals, the duo played a third set that went to 6-6 in games, at which time a 7-point tiebreaker was played, which they won 7-0 to win the trophy – temporarily.

“The trophy is on loan until next year. I have to return it or return and play for it. If I win three years in a row, I get to keep it and it’s my intention to go back and win again. I was in pretty elite company down there and most of the people we were playing, Everette Jonsson, Hank Irvine and Fred Drilling, were previous world champions!” said Travis, a Lakeside Park resident. “I always knew I had a chance. As I get older, the people I’m playing against get older too.”

By Peggy Harrell Jennings
Resident Community News

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