At what age do you start to decline

Mlenk

Rookie
34 year old guy here thats a 4.5 level player. I play tennis 3 to 4 times a week. I lift weights at the gym 3 times a week. I have a decent diet. I run a couple half marathons a year. I consider myself to be in fairly good shape and an active person.

So with all that said i was wondering, when do you start to see a decline physically? When do you start cutting out a gym session and a tennis session in a week because you’re too sore or because you dont have the energy? If i keep up my active lifestyle and maintain my mostly healthy diet, can i still chase down balls like i do now at 40? 45? When am i gonna have to start playing more doubles instead of singles?

I know everyone is different but im wondering at what age did some of you guys notice where you woke up one day and there was a significant change to what you guys could do physically.
 

onehandbh

Legend
34 year old guy here thats a 4.5 level player. I play tennis 3 to 4 times a week. I lift weights at the gym 3 times a week. I have a decent diet. I run a couple half marathons a year. I consider myself to be in fairly good shape and an active person.

So with all that said i was wondering, when do you start to see a decline physically? When do you start cutting out a gym session and a tennis session in a week because you’re too sore or because you dont have the energy? If i keep up my active lifestyle and maintain my mostly healthy diet, can i still chase down balls like i do now at 40? 45? When am i gonna have to start playing more doubles instead of singles?

I know everyone is different but im wondering at what age did some of you guys notice where you woke up one day and there was a significant change to what you guys could do physically.
Everyone probably declines at a different rate, and of course, injuries and illness can speed up the rate of decline.

I am weaker and slower now than I was ~10 years ago, but I have also been much less active in the last 10 years due to work & business, family commitments, more frequent vacations and traveling.

~10 years ago:
  • I could grab a basketball rim easily
  • bench press 230
  • jump over the tennis net post easily with a two-footed hop

today:
  • I can no longer reach the rim (but i did stop playing basketball)
  • bench about 185 max
  • can jump over a net but probably not the post
  • can only run the spider drill in 16.5 seconds
  • 6 pack is now in the fridge instead of my abs.
 

bigserving

Hall of Fame
34 year old guy here thats a 4.5 level player. I play tennis 3 to 4 times a week. I lift weights at the gym 3 times a week. I have a decent diet. I run a couple half marathons a year. I consider myself to be in fairly good shape and an active person.

So with all that said i was wondering, when do you start to see a decline physically? When do you start cutting out a gym session and a tennis session in a week because you’re too sore or because you dont have the energy? If i keep up my active lifestyle and maintain my mostly healthy diet, can i still chase down balls like i do now at 40? 45? When am i gonna have to start playing more doubles instead of singles?

I know everyone is different but im wondering at what age did some of you guys notice where you woke up one day and there was a significant change to what you guys could do physically.
Age 34.5. Enjoy while you can, it's all downhill from there!
 

onehandbh

Legend
34 year old guy here thats a 4.5 level player. I play tennis 3 to 4 times a week. I lift weights at the gym 3 times a week. I have a decent diet. I run a couple half marathons a year. I consider myself to be in fairly good shape and an active person.
I play tennis 3-4x a month. Go to the gym 3-4x a month. Run a a half marathon once a year, but I break it up into **26** 0.5 mile chunks done on different days.
 

Crocodile

Legend
How long you can perform at a high level will unfortunately be influenced by wear and tear and injuries and inflammatory diseases that you may develop, and then how committed your are to managing your health.
Overuse and repetition in tennis can cause joint problems and this usually can start in your 40's. Most players in addition may have suffered one injury in this time which they have had to overcome but can flare up or become a niggling thing.
Things become more difficult when you develop more than one injury at a time such as a lower back disk problem and a neck problem.
 

Goof

Semi-Pro
I'm 35, and on a good day I'm as fast, quick, strong, and explosive as ever. However, there are a lot more days now where I just wake up sore everywhere and on those days it's more of a struggle. It gets frustrating because I have more athletic potential now than when I was younger, but recovery takes longer/more work.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
34 year old guy here thats a 4.5 level player. I play tennis 3 to 4 times a week. I lift weights at the gym 3 times a week. I have a decent diet. I run a couple half marathons a year. I consider myself to be in fairly good shape and an active person.

So with all that said i was wondering, when do you start to see a decline physically? When do you start cutting out a gym session and a tennis session in a week because you’re too sore or because you dont have the energy? If i keep up my active lifestyle and maintain my mostly healthy diet, can i still chase down balls like i do now at 40? 45? When am i gonna have to start playing more doubles instead of singles?

I know everyone is different but im wondering at what age did some of you guys notice where you woke up one day and there was a significant change to what you guys could do physically.
once you pass 40, you start to notice very small minute differences in energy level and performance but at amateur tennis, it probably makes no difference. once you pass 50, however, you start to notice that it is very tough to play tennis 3-4 times a week Plus lift weights 3 times a week. you probably have to decrease that to tennis 2 times a week and workout 3 times a week. Stamina also decreases. you probably won't be able to play 2 singles matches or even doubles matches back to back on same day like you would do in the tournaments. you can play 2 matches in 1 day but in that 2nd match, you probably totally suck.
 

Big_Dangerous

Talk Tennis Guru
You don't get older er, you only get betterer! ;)

Why is ******* asterisked out automatically? It's not even a word lol.
 

a10best

Hall of Fame
once you pass 40, you start to notice very small minute differences in energy level and performance but at amateur tennis, it probably makes no difference. once you pass 50, however, you start to notice that it is very tough to play tennis 3-4 times a week Plus lift weights 3 times a week. you probably have to decrease that to tennis 2 times a week and workout 3 times a week. Stamina also decreases. you probably won't be able to play 2 singles matches or even doubles matches back to back on same day like you would do in the tournaments. you can play 2 matches in 1 day but in that 2nd match, you probably totally suck.
- Had a bad herniated disk at age 47, and rehabbed for 9 months. Afterwards, no more free weights above 25lbs (per arm).
- Have a left knee that sometimes swells a little, x-rays were negative. Other tennis players and sports guys say forget about an MRI unless you are sure about getting microscopic meniscus surgery which 50% of the time does not help. Just ice it afterwards and eat anti-inflammatory foods. Swelling hasn't returned (know on wood). I play 2x week and still have the energy for 1 hour fitness workouts 3.5x a week.

Changes? My lateral movement and serve speed have declined gradually.
Gains: more core strength and definition thanks to physical therapist exercises and some of the original P90x body weight exercises. I felt a whole lot stronger and lighter doing body weight exercises (planks, burpees, three yoga poses) than bench or lat presses. I wish I did that about it 20 years ago, than 10 years ago.
 

onehandbh

Legend
- Had a bad herniated disk at age 47, and rehabbed for 9 months. Afterwards, no more free weights above 25lbs (per arm).
- Have a left knee that sometimes swells a little, x-rays were negative. Other tennis players and sports guys say forget about an MRI unless you are sure about getting microscopic meniscus surgery which 50% of the time does not help. Just ice it afterwards and eat anti-inflammatory foods. Swelling hasn't returned (know on wood). I play 2x week and still have the energy for 1 hour fitness workouts 3.5x a week.

Changes? My lateral movement and serve speed have declined gradually.
Gains: more core strength and definition thanks to physical therapist exercises and some of the original P90x body weight exercises. I felt a whole lot stronger and lighter doing body weight exercises (planks, burpees, three yoga poses) than bench or lat presses. I wish I did that about it 20 years ago, than 10 years ago.
You gained more strength but lost speed/movement?
 

2good4U

Professional
A good diet, plenty of exercise, and avoiding toxins, will extend your
youthfulness for years.

I'm about to turn 55 and most wouldn't believe me if I told them my age.

Diet, Deadlifts and Tennis have helped keep me young.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
I saw a baseball article recently about free agents versus young players and age-related decline. Unfortunately I don't remember where I saw the article or I would post the link. The upshot is that some scientific measures of athletic performance start to decline as early as age 20 but improved experience generally outweighs the losses in terms of overall performance in the sport into the 30s.
 

TennisDawg

Hall of Fame
As a pro you peak in your early 20 to mid 20s and start to decline at around 30, of course there are some exceptions. Rec players decline at age 30 also but if they continue to improve their tennis game can actually get better. Rec players with sound strokes can be very competitive into their mid- 40s. So although you decline physically you can still play very good tennis at the recreational level.
 

NuBas

Legend
Cliche but I do think it depends on the person, their habits, their built, and their drive. I have seen some 40-50 even 60-70 year olds playing great tennis. I guess some have better genetics. One guy I know is over 50 and plays near 4.5.
 

GeoffHYL

Professional
I peaked at 16. Injured my right knee playing soccer, my legs never got better than they were before the injury. That has limited my peak fitness level. Stayed at a pretty consistent level until 40, then a slow decline from there. Endurance is the thing that has suffered the most. I look at John McEnroe, he's just a bit older than i am, and he still has a great game for his age.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
It heavily depends on the level aswell.

Pro players who are at the PEAK of their limit and human limit and who also train and play MUCH more frequently than normal tennis players will decline and get wear and tear much sooner.

But considering roger is still competing with the best players in the world at 37, and rafa and novak look amazing at 32 or so, I would say normal rec players or even high level rec players of 4.5-5.0 can compete with the best at that level in singles for much longer than that, possibly till 45-50, but can still remain pretty good and competitive up to 60 I would say.
 

Kalin

Legend
Some good points in the poasts above.

As long as you stay active, keep your weight in check and avoid bad injuries you can stay competitive very long; I've seen guys in their 60s kick arse with not much trouble. Your level is high enough that you can still hit the ball very well even if you become a step or two slower. I hope you have a good serve, though, it only becomes more important with age.

OTOH, get fat or get an injury and it can be over in a day. I had a hip injury and it aged me 15 years overnight :( Still haven't recovered fully. The body recovers much more slowly with age, alas.

So, keep healthy, protect your joints and watch the weight and there's no reason you can't have another 34 years of enjoyable tennis :)
 

Kaptain Karl

Hall Of Fame
I was in the best shape of my life at 38. But I didn't realize this until age 40. (I started realizing, "I cannot pull off the jump spinning scissor kick overhead with the same grace I used to...." That really was my barometer.)

It's a good thing I was so fit from 34-38. I almost died in a bad skiing accident at 34.

I took a job for 3 years driving a truck. That wrecked my fitness ... for ten years! (Man! It's hard to bounce back after 45!)

At 56 I was on a run and my mid-back went "Doink!". My Chiropractor mis-diagnosed this injury and told me I couldn't lift weights, run, ride my Mtn bike or play tennis anymore. I was to ... walk, period. This sucked....

At 59 I moved and changed Chiros. My new doc could tell the back injury was residue from the 1990 skiing accident. He figured out the previous doc had been adjusting my back wrong -- for my injury. Four weeks after seeing this new doc he cleared me for "any physical activity I wanted." It still feels like I'm recovering from the three years of walking therapy. I WILL lose 20 more pounds. I WILL recover a good part of my tennis form. (I actually have done that. I simply don't have the stamina I ought to.)

I'm planning to tear up the 75s!!!
 

TennisCJC

Legend
I am 61 and still play 3 or 4 times a week.

Mid 40s:
  1. recovery time increase - more sore after a long match
  2. nagging pulls, strains and inflammation in muscles and joints increases. had issues with calf and groin strains. inflammation in rotator cuff. ankle inflammation due to tennis and injury to L ankle.
  3. night vision diminishes
  4. lower back pain and a few instances where back locks up and requires treatment - cortisone shots, muscle relaxers, ...
After mid 40s, it is pretty much more of the same: longer recovery, nagging joint issues, inflammation and tendinitis in knees, ankles, elbows, wrist and shoulders, eye sight diminishes, and lower back issues.

But, I am 61 and still reasonably quick around the court. I think the main difference now is I play better after a day or 2 of rest. If I play 2 or 3 consecutive days, I can feel the fatigue and ankles and knees are more painful on court. Stretching and strengthening are very important.
 
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