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Miami Tennis Champ Celebrates 100th Birthday

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A South Florida sports legend reached a major milestone today.

Tennis champion Gardnar Mulloy celebrated his 100th birthday at his home in Miami surrounded by close friends and family.

"Gardnar is a living institution in tennis," said Jim Martz, editor of Florida Tennis Magazine He told CBS4's Eliott Rodriguez, "I've never met anyone more inspirational. He always has a positive attitude, and always looks at the bright side of things."

Mulloy began playing professional tennis in 1934 and was still working as a tennis pro at Fisher Island until just a few years ago.

The former Wimbledon and U.S. National Champion has 127 tennis championships and 25 international titles.

"Gardnar is a true Renaissance man," said longtime Miami tennis pro Don Petrine. "Not only was he a great tennis player well into his 50s, which is unheard of these days, he was also a war veteran, captain of his naval ship, and an animal activist."

In fact, Mulloy is the former president of Pet Rescue in Miami, an organization that supports adoption and no-kill options for stray pets.

Mulloy spent his birthday relaxing with family members at his home near the Miami River. It's a home he built more than 60 years ago.

(Source: Art Seitz)

"Gardnar has been an ambassador for tennis and for Miami," said Miami tennis pro John Geraghty, a former University of Miami All American player. "He grew up near downtown Miami not far from the Orange Bowl and he never left. He loves tennis and he loves Miami."

Miami also loves Gardnar Mulloy. And this weekend he will receive plenty of birthday love from Miami and beyond.

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