The pain finally became unbearable for Craig Diehl.
After dealing with an aching hip for two years, the 10-time York City-County tennis champion needed to have it replaced.
Diehl was 46 when he underwent surgery in 2007.
"It took me a good year after that where I could play with zero pain," Diehl said on Tuesday evening at Farquhar Park.
"All the sports I played, especially tennis, wore on the joints. In those two years (before the replacement), I developed so many bad habits to take pressure off my hip."
Diehl is 51 now, and is doing something he hasn't done in 10 years: playing in the Men's Singles draw of the City-County event.
In Diehl's last appearance in Men's Singles, he won his 10th title.
"Zach (tournament co-director Zach Manifold) called and said they were hurting (for players) in the draw," Diehl said. "I figured I would help them and keep the history aspect of this tournament going (this year marks the 93rd City-County Tournament)."
Diehl, an attorney, and former high school (Spring Grove) and college (Bloomsburg) tennis star, used to play every day.
"It's five days a week now, and I don't play as long as I used to. My body won't allow that.
"I enjoy working with Elliot now."
Elliot Diehl, Craig's 15-year-old son, just completed his freshman year at York Suburban where he played No. 3 singles for the Trojans.
"He's starting to have more interest in tennis," Craig Diehl said. "It was fun playing next to him today."
Diehl, the No. 1-seeded player, opened his bid for an 11th singles championship by defeating Doug Graby, 6-0, 6-0, on Court No. 5. Elliot lost to the No. 4-seeded player, Craig Hildebrand, 6-0, 6-0, on Court No. 4.
In addition to the hip replacement, Diehl sustained a broken ankle during a Mixed Doubles match in last year's tournament.
"I went up for a serve, and when I came down, I cracked it. I didn't even realize I broke it, but it got really swollen, and when I went to have it checked, it was broken."
Asked if he's looking forward to playing in Men's Singles again, Diehl smiled and said, "Yes and No."
Yes because he loves competing in tennis. No because he'll be facing younger players in what could be, at least one day, sweltering conditions.
Diehl is one of just 16 players in the Men's Singles draw. The Women's Singles bracket is even smaller: only three signed up including Robin Trieder, a finalist the past two years. Three-time champion Melissa Plowman did not enter this year.
Jim Kohr, who holds a record 16 Men's Singles crown, is not playing this year due to vacation. Last year's runnerup, Jeff Clark, is also not in the 2012 tournament, and neither is Mikesh Desai, the No. 3-seeded player in 2011.
"I never heard some many people say they would be on vacation than I did this year," Manifold said.
"Five years ago, I would have said the small draws were a blip, but we've been struggling the last few years to attract players. Of course, back when there 100 people playing in City-County, tennis was one of the main things to do in the summer. Now, there are so many activities for individuals and families."
Over the years, the tournament has been played in both June and July, although in recent years, it's taken place mostly in June.
Reach Dick Vanolinda at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-5407.