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View Full Version : Is 30 Really "Old" or has it Become the New "25"?


stringertom
08-30-2011, 01:34 PM
As a result of many of the more mature players in the USO men's draw advancing to round 2, I was curious to review bio data of the top 50 ATP players. Nearly 20% of them are "past their prime", as some would contend after blowing out those 30 candles. Another 4 will beg for oxygen to complete that personal task by this time next year.

Are we seeing an improved ability to maintain a high competitive level or is it the young guns just haven't stepped up in enough numbers to supplant these "old geezers"?

West Coast Ace
08-30-2011, 01:45 PM
Not sure I'd go with your contention unless a number of 'oldsters' make deep runs. You can easily chalk up the 1st round wins to smarter strategy and experience in playing in big events.

I will now step out of the way and let the PED Conspiracy Theorists weigh in.

AR15
08-30-2011, 01:48 PM
As strength and fitness becomes a bigger aspect of the sport, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the "prime" age of players get older.

Mainad
08-30-2011, 02:18 PM
Ivan Ljubicic won Indian Wells last year at the age of 31.

Radek Stepanek won Washington this year at the age of 32.

I daresay they are the exceptions but it does show that there is life after 30 on the tennis circuit if you're still fit and motivated enough!

BeHappy
08-30-2011, 02:32 PM
Mardy Fish and Melzer both reaching new highs at 29.

I think it's very much a 'miles on the clock' thing. Guys who have accumulated a lot of injuries tend to break down around 30, like Rafter, Becker etc.

Very individual too, some players, like Ken Rosewall, or more recently Jonas Bjorkman, just never seem to lose a step. Bjorkman could still be playing today if he wanted to.

juanparty
08-30-2011, 02:48 PM
Edberg was over at 26.

Clarky21
08-30-2011, 02:51 PM
Depends on the player. Some are done at 25,and some are just starting to hit their stride at 30.

Mainad
08-30-2011, 03:07 PM
Very individual too, some players, like Ken Rosewall, or more recently Jonas Bjorkman, just never seem to lose a step.

Rosewall played his last Grand Slam final when he was 40 (Wimbledon 1974)!

tennis_fan_182
08-30-2011, 03:47 PM
As strength and fitness becomes a bigger aspect of the sport, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see the "prime" age of players get older.

You're past your physical peak from 18 - early twenties. After that testosterone production declines and your ability to pack on big muscles decreases dramatically.

30 is basically elderly in sports.

Timo
08-30-2011, 04:01 PM
Look at the number of women players at the 30 year mark doing well.

celoft
08-30-2011, 05:07 PM
Depends on the number of matches played. Mileage.

Caesar
08-30-2011, 06:09 PM
For the genuine quality players, it's the reverse - 25 is the new 30. All the guys who have the raw ability to achieve success early in their careers start breaking down in their mid-to-late 20s due to the punishing nature of modern tennis. Federer is pretty much the exception to the rule.

I would argue this is the reason that we are seeing more late bloomers - guys like Fish who have less miles on the clock when they get to their late 20s (generally because they lacked that raw talent to bring them early success) find themselves in the unique position whereby they have that combination of both experience and fitness that arguably more talented guys don't. It brings more success than it would have in previous eras, where the top players wouldn't really start to drop off until 29 or 30.

stringertom
08-30-2011, 06:59 PM
Fish's ascendancy over the past two years is not from late blooming/lower mileage. He has blossomed due to a commitment to vastly improved physical conditioning and a mental strength from being very comfortable in his personal life. He had the talent but just wasn't applying it. I remember seeing him in a lunch shop in Tallahassee during the '06 Challenger there. That was in the era of his initial rededication. IIRC, he won that week and began a push to get back to ATP level. Five years of hard work is not a "low-mileage" existence.

NadalAgassi
08-30-2011, 10:12 PM
The reason we are seeing that many 30-something men, most far from exceptional, in the top 100, is how weak the overall mens field is now, and how astonishingly weak the up and comers are. The fact Donald Young is still one of the best of his age group, now 22 and having achieved virtually nothing on tour still, says it all.

NadalAgassi
08-30-2011, 10:15 PM
Rosewall played his last Grand Slam final when he was 40 (Wimbledon 1974)!

That is amazing, but tennis back then was nowhere as physical as today. I am not saying the fields were weaker (actually in many cases I think they were better then), just that the bodies took alot less beating.

lendledbergfan
08-31-2011, 12:36 AM
Too many contradictions.

Fed at 30 has not won a slam for 1.5 years now (he used to regularly clock 2 majors a year at 25-26-27 yrs old) -- against

Fish/Agassi/Melzer/Li Na/Schiavone achieved personal highs around 30 -- for

Rafa declining (lets accept this fact) -- against

Caesar
08-31-2011, 01:02 AM
Fish's ascendancy over the past two years is not from late blooming/lower mileage. He has blossomed due to a commitment to vastly improved physical conditioning and a mental strength from being very comfortable in his personal life. He had the talent but just wasn't applying it. I remember seeing him in a lunch shop in Tallahassee during the '06 Challenger there. That was in the era of his initial rededication. IIRC, he won that week and began a push to get back to ATP level. Five years of hard work is not a "low-mileage" existence.
Fish is 29 and turned pro in 2000. He's played around 450 matches.

To contrast with a comparable early bloomer, take David Nalbandian. Also 29, also turned pro in 2000. He's played over 500 matches, despite being injury riddled for most of the past 3 years and seldom playing anything close to a full schedule in that time.

Hewitt's even worse - he has over 700 matches on the clock, despite being only a few months older and having barely played in the last two years.

Like it or not, the guys who deliver early put their bodies under far more strain far earlier due to constantly playing the top guys and going deep into tournaments. As a result, once they become really experienced, mature touring pros their bodies are shot. Sure, a lot of Fish's current success has to do with how he's remodelled his game. But a lot of it also has to do with his age and experience level compared to a lot of the other guys around him. It gives him a big advantage.

Look at all his contemporaries whose bodies have fallen apart due to the strain of modern tennis. Do you really think he'd be ahead of them if they were still kicking around injury free? And do you really think that Fish would still be performing the way he is currently, injury free, if he'd remodelled his game 8 years ago?

celoft
08-31-2011, 05:19 AM
Fed has not won a slam since 28(AO 2010). The likes of Nadal and Djoko will win their last slam even younger than 28 due to their game being so physical and defensive. By 27 neither Nadal nor Djoko will be winning slams. As a matter of fact, they will most likely win their last slam at 26 tops.

stringertom
08-31-2011, 06:20 AM
Yeah, I think Fish would be performing even better if he had revised his diet and offcourt conditioning earlier than he did. Number of matches is like an odometer on your car. It's what you do between the matches to avoid injuries, just like making the second 100,000 miles as trouble-free as the first by regular maintenance. Number of matches also indicates getting deeper in draws, which earns the player seeding and consequent easier early-round contests. Straight-setters with bagels and breadsticks go a long way to smoothing out a busy schedule. Look at Djok '11.

TMF
08-31-2011, 08:07 AM
Ivan Ljubicic won Indian Wells last year at the age of 31.

Radek Stepanek won Washington this year at the age of 32.

I daresay they are the exceptions but it does show that there is life after 30 on the tennis circuit if you're still fit and motivated enough!

Ljubicic is a far more superior player in 2005/2006 than he was in 2009.

TMF
08-31-2011, 08:23 AM
Rosewall played his last Grand Slam final when he was 40 (Wimbledon 1974)!

You will never see it again in this day and age b/c the increase in the level of depth/competition.

Marius_Hancu
08-31-2011, 08:28 AM
high performance: rare, not the norm
think Rosewall, he invented it

stringertom
08-31-2011, 11:27 AM
You will never see it again in this day and age b/c the increase in the level of depth/competition.

I don't think you'll ever see it bcoz of the $$$. Anyone with the Rosewallian level of talent will have filled their moneybags and moved along to their next comfortable role in life. Rosewall played to his extreme length of career to cash in for the pro paycheck he was deprived of for so long due to the "shamateurism" of his generation.

hawk eye
08-31-2011, 01:03 PM
Agassi won a couple of slams in his 30's.
Connorts won USO and Wimby at 30.. and you could't say his game his less taxing on the body than e.g. Federer.
All this talk about declining at 30.. even way before.. no way. Top cyclists reach their peak after 30, Linford Christie won Olympic gold at 32..

r2473
08-31-2011, 01:04 PM
I'd say 30 is the new 30.

accidental
08-31-2011, 05:36 PM
Players are playing beyond 30 if they stay injury free these days. I think it comes down to motivation tbh

Caesar
08-31-2011, 06:00 PM
Yeah, I think Fish would be performing even better if he had revised his diet and offcourt conditioning earlier than he did. Number of matches is like an odometer on your car. It's what you do between the matches to avoid injuries, just like making the second 100,000 miles as trouble-free as the first by regular maintenance. Number of matches also indicates getting deeper in draws, which earns the player seeding and consequent easier early-round contests. Straight-setters with bagels and breadsticks go a long way to smoothing out a busy schedule. Look at Djok '11.
Djokovic did his shoulder in Cincinnati.

Number of matches make a massive difference, particularly with the amount of punishment that the modern game doles out. Why else do you think players are more injury prone after they hit 25 now than they were 10-20 years ago? It's not because their between-match maintenance has got worse, that's for sure.

Miles on the clock make a massive difference.

Sentinel
08-31-2011, 08:26 PM
I'm not sure my good 25 year old friend Rafa would agree with you !

Caesar
08-31-2011, 08:42 PM
deleteddddddd

BevelDevil
08-31-2011, 09:23 PM
All this talk about declining at 30.. even way before.. no way. Top cyclists reach their peak after 30, Linford Christie won Olympic gold at 32.

cycling isn't tennis.

Cyclist peak late in part because they have to train their bodies to burn fat for energy more so than in most sports. This supposedly takes over a decade of training.

jackson vile
09-01-2011, 10:20 AM
No way anyone can play past 30yr old, especially with a fused back injury, especially giving the current #1 a huge run for their money LOL

zagor
09-01-2011, 10:27 AM
No way anyone can play past 30yr old, especially with a fused back injury, especially giving the current #1 a huge run for their money LOL

Past 30 year old? But I thought that according to you players are too old and past their best at the age of 25. By that logic it's amazing Fed's even walking still let alone playing competing in a pro sport.

jackson vile
09-01-2011, 10:33 AM
Past 30 year old? But I thought that according to you players are too old and past their best at the age of 25. By that logic it's amazing Fed's even walking still let alone playing competing in a pro sport.

I'm sure you can sight where I said such things also LOL

zagor
09-01-2011, 10:36 AM
I'm sure you can sight where I said such things also LOL

Yes, you said Nadal was past his peak and playing flat and unispired tennis at the age of 24.

So why is Nadal past his best at the age of 24 while other players are supposedly playing as good as ever at the age of 30 ?

I can't wait to see your tune when Nadal reaches 30, that will really be something... ****.

zagor
09-01-2011, 10:45 AM
Epic fail again! Here you are again! Show me where I said that, thanks

Your posts =

http://i1192.photobucket.com/albums/aa331/jacksonvile/train_suicide_wideweb__430x307.jpg

Did you say:

-Nadal played flat and uninspired tennis this year

-He's no longer at his peak his year

-He seems to be lacking energy

Yes or no?

jackson vile
09-01-2011, 10:52 AM
according to you players are too old and past their best at the age of 25

Did I ever say this, yes or no? And if so prove it.

stringertom
09-01-2011, 10:59 AM
I'm not sure my good 25 year old friend Rafa would agree with you !

There you go again, Sent! Epic GOATposting. This one gets a ROFLMAO from me! Keep 'em coming, my friend!

zagor
09-01-2011, 11:03 AM
Did I ever say this, yes or no? And if so prove it.

Is Nadal at his peak this year, yes or no? If he isn't that means he's past his best.

stringertom
09-01-2011, 11:45 AM
(When was the last time Federer had a year as bad as 2011?)

(When you raise the bar high enough, it's not that easy to clear it again and again. I'm sure 90+% of the 20's players would gladly trade their results in '11 for the "old" man, no?)

Matt H.
09-01-2011, 11:49 AM
I've always been perplexed at how 30 "seemed" to be a concrete ceiling in a tennis players life.

When you look at sports like basketball and football, 30 is just fine. 34-35 is about the area when they start to slow down.

Look at Michael Vick. 30 years old, and he is blazing fast and agile.

stringertom
09-01-2011, 12:10 PM
I've always been perplexed at how 30 "seemed" to be a concrete ceiling in a tennis players life.

When you look at sports like basketball and football, 30 is just fine. 34-35 is about the area when they start to slow down.

Look at Michael Vick. 30 years old, and he is blazing fast and agile.

Vick is fast but he'll never elude the "red dog" blitz put on by the miserable animals he tortured and killed. $100 million...give it all to cure the epidemic of euthanasia faced by America's canines and then he'll never be sacked again.

Hops
09-01-2011, 08:07 PM
The average age of an ATP touring pro is the highest it's been in at least 16 years, and probably longer. Reasons are speculative, but those are the facts.


http://www.tennis28.com/charts/Top25Ages.GIF


http://www.tennis28.com/charts/Top50Ages.GIF


http://www.tennis28.com/charts/Top100Ages.GIF

Ray Mercer
09-01-2011, 08:09 PM
Vick is fast but he'll never elude the "red dog" blitz put on by the miserable animals he tortured and killed. $100 million...give it all to cure the epidemic of euthanasia faced by America's canines and then he'll never be sacked again.

Running backs are close to shot at 30.

Ray Mercer
09-01-2011, 08:11 PM
I've always been perplexed at how 30 "seemed" to be a concrete ceiling in a tennis players life.

When you look at sports like basketball and football, 30 is just fine. 34-35 is about the area when they start to slow down.

Look at Michael Vick. 30 years old, and he is blazing fast and agile.

Running backs are close to shot at 30. Many people seem to have the perception that tennis is a girly sport when it's physically brutal.