View Full Version : Better player now than 20 years ago?

09-24-2005, 06:25 PM
You youngsters may want to sit this one out.

Iím in my late 40s now, and wondering if Iím not a better player now than when I was in my 20s. The pros usually hang up their racquets in their early 30s, so conventional wisdom says I was probably a lot better in my 20s, but Iím not so sure now.

For sure, in my 20s I could run faster and longer than I do now, and I wore a lot of guys down just by retrieving every shot. I donít have the same wheels for that anymore, but I think I may be hitting the ball better now Ė about the same speed but with more variety. My serve is maybe only a little slower than it was then, but more reliable now. And Iíve become cagier, like some of the old geezers whoíd give me fits with dropshots and off-speed crap when I was a youngster. Yeah, Iím that wily old geezer now.

So, what about you? Any older players out there who think they could give their 20-something selves a run for their money?

09-24-2005, 07:54 PM
interesting point, nuke. i'm a little younger, early 30s, but i've actually been thinking lately that i have a better overall game now than i did when i played high school and college tennis. back then, i think i had several flaws in terms of mechanics (which i'm not sure i realized at the time), but i was fairly athletic and moved pretty well, which helped to compensate. over the past couple of years, i've really worked on technique and mechanics. I also feel like i've just become smarter about the game, in general. i'm still pretty athletic (i'd like to think!), but i don't really rely on that as much anymore, as i think my actual strokes, form, etc., are better.

i'm not pulling the "cagier" stuff yet, but i do feel like i've worked more variety into my game, which, i would think, is a good thing no matter what age.

as for the pros, obviously, they are basically flawless and playing at such a high level when they hit their late teens/early 20s, their games can't get much better, so for them it is all about fitness and speed. hence, at 30, when the wheels do slow, they start to think about hanging the raquets up...

09-24-2005, 08:35 PM
I am in my early 30, and I also feel like I am a better player than before. I can hit ugly junk balls that land deep (I just hit quiet a few landed right on the baseline today ;) ). I am more consistent, more patient, more calm, more intelligent (tennis related only), just sum it up in one word, I am a more annoying player than before.

One thing though, I do feel I am getting slower and slower every year, and footspeed is (or was...) one of my major advantage, i wonder how slow will I get next year...

09-24-2005, 09:24 PM

It's certainly something I've realized within the last 5 years or so.... In my teens and 20's I was more the rip-n-grip player; nowadays, I can see my point construction and (heavens!) I am also able to run down more balls from the high schoolers in tournaments. I don't know if my foot speed has gotten better but my footwork and anticipation are MUCH better now; I also seem to see the court geometry and tactical openings earlier. Mayhaps the benefit of experience?

09-24-2005, 09:44 PM
I'm definitely better now at 42 than I was as a teen or twenty-something.

15 year layoff and I'm playing the best tennis of my life. My wheels are just about as good as ever (helps to be 150 lbs) and my shot variety/court strategy is MUCH better.

09-24-2005, 09:50 PM
I just turned 30 myself I am honored to be this class as you others in this thread. It's a shame I'll never be able to play any of you in this lifetime.

But, I can say that I too am a much wiser competitor in this day and my temper seems to be less of a problem. I've finally reached the pinnacle where I can enjoy this game without anymore the expectations of wanting to be so much more.
Tennis is such a great game/sport and I couldn't be happier to be playing something so good for my health and have this much fun doing it!~

09-24-2005, 09:55 PM
I definitely am better now in my mid 30s than I was as a teenager. Back then I was all about hitting the ball hard. I would bash and smash with little regard to strategy or consistency. I have played recently several high school kids or just out of high school and they have been easy pickings.

Physically though I am slower and I get hurt alot easier. :(

09-25-2005, 04:27 AM
Physically though I am slower and I get hurt alot easier. :(

Yeah, that's definitely one area I have to watch out for. Twist an ankle or pull a back muscle now and it takes much longer to recover than when I was a teen.

09-25-2005, 04:35 AM
Don't rely only on experience. Keep yourself in good shape.
I'd say at any age footwork is very important. I'd suggest checking up the Footwork section in my signature here for good exercises:

Geezer Guy
09-26-2005, 12:03 PM
I played a little tennis in High School and some infrequent recreational tennis in college. After college, I played once or twice a summer until I turned 40. At 40 I started playing seriously and have improved slowly and steadily over the last 10 years. I think I'm a better player now (at 50) than I have ever been. I think - as long as my knee's hold out - that I will continue to improve for several more years to come.

Tim Tennis
09-27-2005, 04:48 AM
Started playing when I was a senior in college and I have been playing ever since. I am 60 now and I am playing the best tennis I ever have. I have mastered multiple grips and spins, especially the SW grip, whereas for years I used the EF. My serve is much better then it ever was, actually more power/spin, more consistant. I have a plan as to where I want to place my serve (and the spin I want to use) to start every point off. I am much more mentally tough and can change tactics. I am very lucky and still move very well, although not nearly as well as I did in my 30's. I truly think that if I could play myself when I was in my mid 30's the score would be something like 6-2, 6-2, I mean what the heck, I would have to give the young guy a couple of games so I don't discourage him.

You got to love the game.


09-27-2005, 04:26 PM
Interesting question - I am in my early 30s and I think I'm playing my best tennis yet. I started taking lessons when I was 8 years old and have played pretty much non-stop since then.

Similar to what others have said I think I'm more mentally tough now. I can execute a game plan, switch up tactics.

Also I grew up when weight training was discouraged for tennis players. Now it's been shown you can do both and therefore I'm hitting harder now than I ever did.

09-28-2005, 04:47 AM
I've become smarter with age , but my level has gone down - In my late twenties I was hitting with a ps 85 strung about 68 and swinging very hard playing at a weak 4.5 level or strong 4.0 ( at least that's what the pro told me that rated me ) now just a 4.0 player on a good day w/ my tension going down to about 59 lbs. Father time is having his way i guess...

09-28-2005, 04:56 AM
Definitely better now than when I was younger. Better strokes, decisions on point construction, and seasoned enough not to falter on critical points.


09-28-2005, 11:40 PM
I'm 27 but feel that I'm playing better then ever. I've also added more mass since I was 17. 30lbs. late genes. It's funny how I've actually started to 'think' on the court. lol.!

09-30-2005, 05:40 AM
I started playing in 2001 - and I am about a month shy of 40. My goal was to become a (computer rated) 4.0 B4 I turned 40 (I already compete in the 4.0 divsion - with moderate success). Since the ratings do not come out until December, I will not know how I did until about a month after my Bday - but since all my results that go into the computation will have been completed prior to the Bday - if I do get bumped - i will consider my goal achieved.

I see alot of guys who have been playing tennis for multiple decades who never seem to get past a certain level - 3.0, 3.5, 4.0. It blows my mind that one would start playing tennis as a child, play regularly all the way into adulthood - and be a mid 30's aged 3.5. I have no delusions about going much past 4.0 - but if i become a top 4.0 in my forties - I will be satisfied. I figure that tennis is about a ten year learning curve for a semi athletic guy like me - so I feel that I am on the right track.

Of course time is cruel - and my body may have ideas of its own .....

10-01-2005, 02:47 PM
So, what about you? Any older players out there who think they could give their 20-something selves a run for their money?

I'm 37 now. I would definitely beat my 20yo self. I serve better, I hit harder and more consistent, I can attack the net. I've been practicing with a coach for the last 2 years so I've finally learnt some real technique - at 20 I was completely self-taught and only played during the summers...

10-01-2005, 02:51 PM
One thing though, I do feel I am getting slower and slower every year, and footspeed is (or was...) one of my major advantage, i wonder how slow will I get next year...

Yeah, you'll only get slower and slower... Luckily for me foot speed has never been my strenght. Instead it's always been about pure raw power and trying to dictate the play (so that I can stand comfortable in the middle next to (or in front of) the baseline and have the other guy run like hell).

(Unfortunately that doesn't always work out and when I get to do the running I get into big troubles real quick :-)

10-01-2005, 10:02 PM
I hope i can say this in 20 years!