At 48, Jim Kohr still excels on tennis court

  • Jim Kohr has won a record 16 York City-County Tennis Championships.
  • He'll be after his 17th Wednesday, when he faces Phil Myers in the 2016 men's title match.
  • Kohr and Myers each won their semifinal matches on Monday in straight sets.

Jim Kohr was 16 when he played in the York City-County Men's Singles Tournament for the first time.

Kohr is 48 now and still in the draw for the annual event.

Jim Kohr returns the ball to Eric Fritzges during a York City-County Tennis Tournament Men's Open Semifinal at Wisehaven Tennis Center in York on Monday. Kohr won in straight sets. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The Central York High School and North Texas University graduate hasn't competed in every City-County event in the past three-plus decades, but he's been in most of them. Kohr has competed when he was healthy and when he wasn't 100 percent.

"I had a bad shoulder one year that I played, and I had the flu the last couple of days, but I still played,"  said Kohr, who's won the event a record 16 times. "I'm going to come out and play. If you lose, you lose, but you give it your best shot."

Kohr wishes more players would have that mindset and enter the tournament.

"When I was little, there were 128 people in the draw (there are 20 this year)," he said. "Some people are saying they don't enter because they can't win or because they're out of shape. I just wish more people would come out and have fun competing."

Kohr entered this year's tournament as the No. 2-seeded player after losing in the semifinals last year.

He's advanced to a familiar place this year — the championship match.

Kohr defeated Mechanicsburg's Eric Fritzges, 6-0 6-2, on Monday evening at Wisehaven to earn a spot in the final. He'll take on top-seeded Phil Myers in the title match. Myers, gained a place in the championship with a hard-fought 6-3, 6-4 victory over Peter Landis.

Kohr, a teaching professional at Blue Ridge Country Club near Harrisburg, has been able to consistently overcome younger players with his fitness and an array of shots, particularly a booming serve. He pounded 11 service winners and two aces against Fritzges and didn't lose his serve.

"I've been serving pretty well lately," Kohr said. "I played a doubles match the other day and I hit 22 first serves in a row. I'm just trying to stay relaxed and I'm getting good extension."

Kohr got back in the tournament last year after not having played since 2011.

"I had my (tennis) club and I lost my club, those were some tough times," he said. "I haven't been playing that much lately. I have teaching commitments and I have an infant son and I want to  spend time with him."

Kohr and wife, Beth, are the parents of six-month old Luke James. Kohr also has two other children, Sarah, 15, and Jimmy, 12.

"Sarah's into tennis and it's an awesome job to teach her," he said. "Jimmy's into lacrosse."

Myers gets pushed: While Kohr dominated his match on Monday, Myers was pushed by Landis, who  plays at Mount St. Mary's. Landis is the third generation of his family to play in City-County. His grandfather, Gil, and his father, Jenks, also competed in the event.

"We hit a lot of balls," Myers said. "You have to approach every point with the mentality that you're going to have to hit six or seven balls to beat him, There were a lot of service breaks, and the few holds (winning his serve) I did get were big."

Phil Myers returns the ball to Peter Landis during the York City-County Tennis Tournament Men's Open Semifinal at Wisehaven Tennis Center in York on Monday. Myers won in straight sets. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Myers was glad he was able to close out the match in the second set.

"Going against a kid who plays (NCAA) Division I college tennis, the last thing I wanted was a third set," he said.

Myers knows he's in for a major challenge in Wednesday's final.

"Jim looked really sharp," he said. "He's moving better and striking the ball better than he did last year. I'm going to have to bring my best game."

Kohr and Myers last played in 2011, when Kohr captured the championship.

In a Men's Doubles semifinal on Monday, Fritzges and Mikesh Desai defeated David Pottle and Nate Gambino, 6-1, 6-4, to earn a place in the title match.

Reach Dick VanO'Linda at