When he was a child, Larry Turville used to see the same banner every morning when he walked through the doors of his home tennis club. It read: “You don’t stop playing tennis when you get old; you get old when you stop playing tennis.”

That was the mantra at Farm Neck this weekend, where the Island hosted its first ever USTA sanctioned national tournament — a senior, round-robin mens doubles event with 60, 65, 70 and 75 age groups. Mr. Turville, a 6-foot, 8-inch former world seniors champion and number one ranked player, and his partner Ed Cunningham, were in the 65 to 70 group.

“As a child, the sign was just a reminder that tennis was for old people,” Mr. Turville said. “But now, I’m one of them.”

The tournament brought players from 13 different states to Martha’s Vineyard, many of whom had never set foot on the Island until Friday. For some, that was the least of their worries.

“I hadn’t met my doubles partner until Friday,” said 82 year old Dick Canepa. “I told him, if I pass out, no mouth-to-mouth.”

Farm Neck organizing team plans to bring back the tournament each fall. — Jeanna Shepard

Mr. Canepa and his wife Beverly came over from Newburyport for the weekend. In their sixties and seventies, the couple was the number one mixed-doubles team in New England. Things were a little tougher for Mr. Canepa with a new doubles partner.

“Yeah, the first match didn’t go so well,” said Mrs. Canepa. “But this is a lot of fun. There’s nothing like tennis. A wonderful, wonderful, sport. And this is what it is all about. We meet people from all over the world.”

In the stands, Mrs. Canepa had made friends with Deirdre Radler. Not only did the two have husbands playing in the tournament, both had brought their Shih Tzu’s to the Island as well. “Willa” and “Lulu” were quickly the talk of the weekend, bouncing around the stands just as the equally fuzzy, neon-green Wilson-brand balls did the same on Farm Neck’s Har-Tru courts.

While the 60, 65 and 75 age groups each had one large round robin tournament, with the 300 USTA points at stake going to the team with the best record after three matches, the 70’s group had to play another winners round-robin because their field was so large.

“The 70’s are becoming the biggest draw because the Baby Boomers are all getting to be that age,” organizer Mas Kimball explained.

Those Baby Boomers took the court with oversized Panama hats on their heads and oversized heads on their rackets, both in character with the weekend’s similarly outsized quality of play. The matches were strategic doubles at their finest, showcasing the importance of accuracy and communication when everyone’s been playing for so long that no one really misses. Servers almost always tried to get to the net, often needing to fight off ankle-high returns with defensive volleys. Lobs, angles and slices featured heavily in every player’s repertoire. Two-handed backhands did not.

“They just didn’t teach them when we were young,” Mr. Kimball said. “And flexibility gets harder for us old guys.”

To stretch before his first match, New Yorker Peter Fiore swung around a 35-inch, Jackie Robinson Louisville Slugger baseball bat. It looked like he was at the on-deck circle at Ebbets Field rather than a Vineyard tennis club.

Russ Sandblom stretches for a forehand. — Jeanna Shepard

“This thing is to deepen my muscle memory,” Mr. Fiore said as he took a one-handed hack.

His doubles partner, Jeff Nemerov, had some clarifying to do. “The trouble is, he’s got no muscle,” he retorted. “And he’s got no memory.”

Mark Thompson came to the Island from Jackson, Miss. to play in the 60 age group.

“A couple buddies of mine were going and I thought it’d be a good time,” Mr. Thompson said. He went 3-0 on the weekend, winning the 60 age group. “The north can be hospitable, too,” he noted.

George Ulrich has been teaching tennis for 45 years. In his first match on Saturday that level of experience showed. Up a set and two breaks, one of his shots finally sailed long on the far baseline.

“George, you finally missed,” his opponent said. Mr. Ulrich and his longtime playing partner Tommy George reached the finals of the 70s age group, where they ultimately lost in a third set tiebreaker 16-14.

Others didn’t have as much success on the court, but that didn’t dampen their spirits. “We had a good time even though we lost,” said Dick Canepa after falling short in his second match. “When you’re our age, there are always more important things than wins and losses. Like tomorrow.”

For Larry Turville, that sentiment rang particularly true. This was the former world champion’s first time back on the court since his recent cancer treatment.

“It’s really great to be healthy and back out there,” he said. Most of Mr. Turville’s adult life has revolved around tennis. He played collegiate tennis at Georgia Tech abd qualified for Wimbledon and the US Open as a journeyman on the professional tour. He has also been a long time teaching pro (with one summer at the West Chop Club), and has had nearly unmatched success as a senior player, winning 45 “golden balls,” the prize awarded for a national championship. He reunited with his doubles partner, Ed Cunningham, two years ago.

“Ed was a bit overweight and I told him to get off the pot,” Mr. Turville said.

The two childhood friends quickly became a formidable doubles team.

“I actually have a win over Lar,” Mr. Cunningham said. “Beat him when I was 12, and I don’t think I’m going to give him the chance for a rematch.”

The pair went undefeated over the weekend, losing only five games in the course of their many sets.

During matches the players all called each other by first name and asked about children, grandchildren, and sometimes, great-grandchildren. If they didn’t win in sport, they won in sportsmanship, kvetching about football rather than line calls. Perhaps the biggest win occurred under the Farm Neck tent Saturday night, when Mas Kimball raffled off his Bahamas beach house for a tropical getaway. David Kenney, who sailed to the Island from Yarmouth, had the lucky number.

“I love you Mas,” Mr. Kenney said as he claimed his prize. “This is a great, unbelievable weekend. The weather, the camaraderie, and the competition are all tops, and I’m gonna have a good time in the Bahamas. See everybody here next year!”