Altoona native Pete Roscia thinks playing successful doubles tennis is like playing a successful team.
“Playing together and setting up your partner is key,” said Roscia, 73, a 1967 Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School graduate who lives in Miami. “If you want to play singles tennis, doubles is not the place to do it.
“There is a lot more strategy involved in doubles tennis. There is a team concept involved, and playing together is very important.
Roscia and her doubles tennis partner, Mary Murray of Palm City, Fla., used teamwork to win a gold medal in the 70-74 mixed doubles division at the US Senior National Games May 21 at the Central Park Tennis Center in Plantation, Florida
They have won five consecutive games in the tournament, including an 0-6, 6-2, 10-4 victory in the championship match against a mixed doubles team from Iowa who entered the event as first in the series.
“The last set was tied, 4-4, but we won six in a row,” Roscia said. “We have won six in a row. »
Roscia is a retired teacher and administrator who now coaches and plays tennis. Murray is also a retired teacher and coach who has coached several sports, including tennis, at the high school and college levels.
“We’ve both been in the sport for a long time, and when you’ve been doing something for a long time and you’re playing doubles tennis as a team, you figure out what you need to do and you figure out what the team needs to do to be successful. “Murray said.”Pete has been coaching and playing as long as I have, and I think that’s what helped us win. We knew how to play as a team. »
Roscia and Murray qualified for the national event, which involved around 20 teams, by winning the championship in the Florida State Division competition – where doubles teams that finish in the top three earn spots in the national tournament.
“She knows tennis very well and she’s a very good player,” Roscia said of Murray.
The two won a mixed doubles championship for players aged 60 and over at the World Team Tennis Championships last year and entered the mixed doubles tournament at this year’s Senior National Games as runners-up. first in the series.
“I thought we had a good shot,” Roscia said. “The league game was very competitive, even in the first game we lost.
Roscia, married with three adult sons, leads an extremely active life. He plays tennis three days a week, trains in a gymnasium at least five days a week, and coaches a women’s tennis team.
“I’m still in pretty good shape,” Roscia said.
Roscia comes from a very good line. Her mother, Kay, recently celebrated her 100th birthday, and her father, Frank, will celebrate his 100th birthday in August. The two still live together in Altoona.
Roscia retired from basketball umpiring after a long career as an umpire in both the Women’s National Basketball Association and at the college level. He was also a longtime statistician for the Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association.
Roscia also qualified for the Senior National Games men’s doubles tournament last May, where her playing partner was Roger Bell, father of former NBA veteran Raja Bell.
Next year’s Senior National Games mixed doubles event will take place in Pittsburgh, where Roscia and Murray will both look to defend the title they won this spring.
“I think we should try to defend our title,” Roscia said. “We have a reason to go there and play.