The validity of Cristóforo Jesús Paz, the 93-year-old tennis player who remained unrivaled and who trains with “children” aged 80 and above

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The heat wave gives no respite and carrying out any outdoor activity weighs like a sentence. It’s five o’clock in the afternoon, the thermometer shows 33° and the sun has been stubbornly not breathing for some time. Inside Club Atletico Comercio, in the Núñez neighborhood of Buenos Aires, a group of teenagers between 15 and 20 years of age train against the gable that passes in front of the tennis courts. The young people, logically overwhelmed, stop to hydrate themselves. But the noise of the racket hitting the ball doesn’t stop resonating. Alone against the pediment, a man unleashes his push against the wall like an implacable opponent. The yellow plush ball always comes back. AND Christopher Jesus PazConcentrated and with his 93 years in tow, he keeps pace. “I needed to relax”tells clarion before telling his amazing life story.

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The first question, that of the million, coincidentally knows how do you keep playing tennis. It’s not for everyone, of course. And Paz, in a calm and patient tone of voice, reveals that many people who see him on brick dust are amazed by his vitality and ask him insistently what his recipe is. But he has no answers“Two by three they say to me: ‘How are you?’ It’s something that comes from within. I don’t care about anything, not at all. I think it’s because of the Indian blood.”he boasts with a smile while enjoying a cortado coffee with Estela, his wife.

Paz grew up in an atmosphere of absolute humility in a town near the capital Santiago del Estero. He lived in a small house with his parents and eight siblings with whom he worked from a very young age in various rural businesses. They were woodcutters, they produced charcoal and they also took care of the animals. And he insists that his vitality and ability to continue enjoying star tennis may have something to do with his ancestry. “What happens is that I am the son of an Aboriginal. My father was raised by the Chiriguanos (N. de la R. also known as Ava Guaraníes, who lived for a long time in northern Argentine territory).”

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Photo Juano Tesone - FTP CLARIN JUA05034.JPG Z JTesone

Photo Juano Tesone – FTP CLARIN JUA05034.JPG Z JTesone

At the age of 20 he arrived in Buenos Aires and started a new life there. He worked first in an oil company and later joined Gas del Estado. Football, as is the case with most, was his favorite sport. However, it was only at the age of 45, at the invitation of some colleagues in the office, that he discovered tennis. AND she never left him again.

In this sense he acknowledges that over the years he has begun to have a little more of a healthy conscience. “Now we have taken care of ourselves for a while. But when we were young we ate normally. Maybe now after the nutritional change, the more we are older, we begin to not eat so much meat, more fruit, more vegetables…” Eat normally. Even if on Saturday they are together with the boys and they all eat more than necessary”, Estela challenges him in front of the complicit gaze of her companion. They have two children – Marcelo, a lawyer, and Patricia, a university professor – who currently live in the United States.

Over the past few years, yes, Paz has loosened up a bit of the pace she had in her 80s. “Lately I only play in the morning on weekends. Before, I played in the morning, in the afternoon, at any time. I could play two or three times in the morning when someone was missing. I didn’t get tired.”he confesses without showing traces of having spent a lot of time hitting the ball hard against the gable under the sun and with his particular racket -it has a different ring and which allows him to have more power-.

Christopher's thrust, with his particular racket that gives him more power.  Photo: Juano Tesone

Christopher’s thrust, with his particular racket that gives him more power. Photo: Juano Tesone

Estela knows what tennis means in the life of Jesus and is aware of what it generates in his state of mind.​“He has found in tennis what makes him happy, because today is what keeps you connectedas well as his family. With tennis he has something that is unique to him. So much so that at age 93 he’s hooked on life. He loves coming to the club.”says the woman, a 77-year-old retiree who worked as a coordinator in expressive gymnastics and yoga.

And Paz nods: “My family knows that in tennis I can do everything that I can’t do in everyday life. Also, there are so many people who love me, help me and respect me. I respect all of them more than anyone else what my opponents. It is important to have respect for them even if it is superior. You don’t have to get angry. Tennis gives me all the happiness. Off the pitch I can do things but I go on the pitch and I feel complete.”.

Eye. Sport is not just a hobby. Paz is also a great player, a competitor who participates in the Senior Circuit of the Argentina Tennis Association and is also encouraged to try his luck in tournaments abroad. In 2020, At the age of 90, he achieved his best position in the ranking of the International Tennis Federation. He was fourth in his category. He is currently in 22nd place among the +90, even if he has practically no rivals. “Now I play with those from 85 because there aren’t any more from 90”he complains.

Paz's flexibility when it comes to saving a ball with a slice.  Photo: Juano Tesone

Paz’s flexibility when it comes to saving a ball with a slice. Photo: Juano Tesone

With the same pace he recovered before the interview, Paz shares some of his concerns. The thing is in recent months he has begun to feel the first pains and a little tiredness in his body. He says it’s the product of a natural loss of muscle mass. Maybe it’s one of the many collateral damages of the cursed pandemic. Is that the coronavirus has also distanced him from the possibility of traveling and seeing his children more often. “I’m not the type to get hurt. Just now. I don’t know what’s happening to my calf that hurts. Now lately I’ve been feeling pain and I’m getting more and more tired. This has been going on for a year. But that’s what it fits”he explains without ceasing to be amazed and with protection, a kind of legging, in the affected area.

And double the bet: “I never thought about leaving. If I can’t compete, I still have someone always waiting for me – and she fixes her eyes against the pediment-. I thought of someone who would give me food that would allow me to recover a little better. I want to play more. In August or September it is a +90 in Mallorca, Spain. I think and I want to go, even if I don’t know if I’ll make it”.

Upside down.  This is how Cristoforo strikes him, who plays every weekend.  Photo Giovanni Tesone

Upside down. This is how Cristoforo strikes him, who plays every weekend. Photo Giovanni Tesone

Source: Clarin

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