VIC SEIXAS celebrated his 100th birthday last week.
And he has sure packed in a whole lot of action into the last century.
Seixas, born and raised in Philadelphia, was a tennis prodigy during his school days after giving up his baseball dream and was destined to dominate on the court for many years.
But the outbreak of World War II saw the teenager put his tennis on hold for three years as he served as a pilot in the United States Army Air Corps.
He was sent to Papua New Guinea aged 18, learned to fly 14 different aircraft and coordinated missions against the Japanese.
However, he did not allow the global conflict to put pay to his tennis – nor his family's plumbing, heating and roofing business.
After victory for the Allies, he returned home in 1946, married his girlfriend Dolly and launched his tennis career travelling the world with his new wife.
Due to the sport still being amateur back then, there was no prize money for tournaments – although expenses were covered – which saw Seixas miss out on approximately £40million in today's money.
And that meant he was just given a £25 shopping voucher for Lilywhites in Piccadilly Circus as his reward for winning Wimbledon in 1953 – and spent it on a new sweater.
A year later, he used his tenacity as an accomplished volleyer to sweep up at the US Open by claiming the men's singles, men's doubles and mixed doubles in a historic feat.
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Also in a tremendous 1954, Seixas won the French Open doubles, Wimbledon doubles and Wimbledon mixed, as well as the Davis Cup with the USA in Sydney and unofficially reached the world No1 ranking.
Seixas played well into his 40s – collecting 15 majors in all but never turned professional – and even won a memorable showdown with Australian Bill Bowrey, 20 years his junior, 32-34 6-4 10-8 at the 1966 Philadelphia Grass Championship in the days before tie-breaks.
Also a very capable squash player thanks to his exceptionally strong legs, he was rated as the senior American champion while still competing on the tennis tour.
Seixas eventually retired in 1970 with 49 singles titles in the trophy cabinet, was inducted into the Hall of Fame the next year and went full-time with his stockbroking.
He had started the job in the late 1950s and worked at Goldman Sachs for 17 years.
But upon leaving the financial giants, he spent a spell as a tennis director coaching at resorts before moving to California.
Around the same time, he divorced Dolly to marry a tennis coach he had hired – although the second marriage also ended.
Seixas then had another career change as he opted to become a bartender.
He moved to California in the late 1980s and settled in the Bay Area, enjoying serving up drinks for the locals with the tennis on TV.
Seixas, who stopped playing tennis socially when his knees deteriorated, said: “Everybody seems to enjoy knowing that. I don’t know why it seems so unusual for someone to work behind a bar.
"I liked to have a drink once in a while, I liked spending time there. I guess it’s a good talking point.”
The centenarian, the oldest living Grand Slam champion, now lives near Harbor Point with his daughter Tori – and has his income topped up by a $2,000-per-month contract Stan Smith sorted out as an 'ambassador' for the iconic white trainers.
But he has fallen out of love a little bit with watching tennis now that he cannot delight in seeing Roger Federer gracing the courts.
Seixas added to The Telegraph earlier this summer: “I did go back to Wimbledon one time recently with Tor but I’ve been confined to a wheelchair for quite a while.
"I will be 100 in August, and my eyesight is not so good any more.
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"I have the Tennis Channel here, but I don’t follow it so much now that Roger Federer has retired. He was a great player, and I enjoyed watching him.
"I don’t enjoy watching it too much any more. Mostly they play from the baseline, and I liked to go to the net. Roger could do both. He could do anything."
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