Age no barrier

19 Oct

In a sport where it seems everyone is getting stronger, faster, more athletic and doing it all sooner, spare a thought for the growing army of tour “veterans”. Guys like Radek Stepanek, little Lleyton Hewitt, Tommy Haas, Nikolay Davydenko and even Roger Federer are pushing past 30. And a similar tale on the WTA roster. Venus and Serena Williams are comfortably in the twilight of their careers, Kimiko Date-Krumm is still competing at 42.

 Teen prodigies Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe.

Why do they keep flogging themselves? Surely not for the money, is it the lifestyle, the travel, the constant practice court and hotel room grind – The reality is they are all hardened competitors – modern day gladiators who thrive on the pressure and thrill of the contest.

Despite the perception of “young guns” bursting onto the tennis tour – the reality is players are having their success later and later.  On the ATP tour in 2011 the youngest final was played in Houston between Ryan Sweeting (23) and Kei Nishikori (21) – hardly teen prodigies. Teens are very scarce on the men’s tour, Bernard Tomic was the only teenager in the men’s top 100 – and not so anymore as he has just turned 20. In fact you need to go back to 2008 for the last teenage winner of a men’s title – and then only just a teen as Marin Cilic was 19 and 11 months at the time.

So don’t despair – keep living your dream, you have plenty of time.



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