BIG 3 at 33 years of age

clout

Hall of Fame
I can't believe Djokovic is 33 already. Crazy to think all the best athletes in the last 10-15 years are now considered elder statesmen in their discipline now.

Messi is 32 (will turn 33 later this month)
Ronaldo is 35
Federer is 38 (will turn 39 in August)
Nadal is 34
Djokovic is 33
LeBron is 35 (will turn 36 in December)
Phelps is 34 (will turn 35 later this month)
Bolt is 33 (will turn 34 in August)
Tiger is 44 (will turn 45 in December)
Brady is 42 (will turn 43 in August)
Manning is 44
Serena is 38 (will turn 39 in September)
Crosby is 32 (will turn 33 in August)
Curry is 32
Hamilton is 35
Vettel is 32 (will turn 33 in July)
Pacqiuao is 41 (will turn 42 in December)
 
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I can't believe Djokovic is 33 already. Crazy to think all the best athletes in the last 10-15 years are now considered elder statesmen in their discipline now.

Messi is 32 (will turn 33 later this month)
Ronaldo is 35
Federer is 38 (will turn 39 in August)
Nadal is 34
Djokovic is 33
LeBron is 35 (will turn 36 in December)
Phelps is 34 (will turn 35 later this month)
Bolt is 33 (will turn 34 in August)
Tiger is 44 (will turn 45 in December)
Brady is 42 (will turn 43 in August)
Manning is 44
Serena is 38 (will turn 39 in September)
Crosby is 32 (will turn 33 in August)
Curry is 32
Hamilton is 35
Vettel is 32 (will turn 33 in July)
Pacqiuao is 41 (will turn 42 in December)
So which physically intense sports are domimated by oldies besides tennis? I mean excluding things like golf, as well as motorsports where tech matters more (Prost retired as the world champ at 40 iirc).
 

clout

Hall of Fame
So which physically intense sports are domimated by oldies besides tennis? I mean excluding things like golf, as well as motorsports where tech matters more (Prost retired as the world champ at 40 iirc).
Good question. Based on what I've seen most of the names I listed above are still going very strong.

- Messi and Ronaldo are still the two best players in the world and it still isn't close imo
- The big 3 are still the top 3 by a landslide
- LeBron is the second best player in the world behind Giannis imo
- Phelps and Bolt were still their dominant selves in Rio 2016 before riding into the sunset once the games concluded
- Tiger is the reigning Masters champ and returned to the top 5 after countless surgeries
- Brady and his team won 3 of the last 6 SBs and won MVP in '17 although he clearly regressed this past year
- Manning won MVP at age 37 and won a SB in his last season albeit he was carried pretty hard by his defense
- Serena is still making finals but can't seem to win them
- Crosby is still one of the best players in the NHL although the young guys like McDavid and MacKinnon are probably better at this point
- Curry is still in the peak/prime of his career
- Hamilton and Vettel have won nearly every WC this decade although as you said, the player with better tech atm will be more dominant (which explains why Vettel was so good in 2010-2013 and Hamilton from 2014 onward)

So out of all the oldies besides the big 3, Messi/CR7, LeBron, and Hamilton are the only ones who can make a very strong argument that they are still the world's best.
 
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The Guru

Hall of Fame
Hard to say that if they all retired at 33 Djokovic would've had the best career but as it stands he's still got some work to do to catch Nadal/Federer in the eyes of the public.
 

Lleytonstation

G.O.A.T.
Will say that I am not so sure what you have accomplished at 33 is the metric to use, as Fed had his down years right before and then picked it up after 33.

Now this could favor Djoker and Rafa hugely if they do the same as Fed from 34-38.
 

daggerman

Professional
I can't believe Djokovic is 33 already. Crazy to think all the best athletes in the last 10-15 years are now considered elder statesmen in their discipline now.

Messi is 32 (will turn 33 later this month)
Ronaldo is 35
Federer is 38 (will turn 39 in August)
Nadal is 34
Djokovic is 33
LeBron is 35 (will turn 36 in December)
Phelps is 34 (will turn 35 later this month)
Bolt is 33 (will turn 34 in August)
Tiger is 44 (will turn 45 in December)
Brady is 42 (will turn 43 in August)
Manning is 44
Serena is 38 (will turn 39 in September)
Crosby is 32 (will turn 33 in August)
Curry is 32
Hamilton is 35
Vettel is 32 (will turn 33 in July)
Pacqiuao is 41 (will turn 42 in December)
It feels like Messi has been in his early 30s for 10 years now
 
Good question. Based on what I've seen most of the names I listed above are still going very strong.

- Messi and Ronaldo are still the two best players in the world and it still isn't close imo
- The big 3 are still the top 3 by a landslide
- LeBron is the second best player in the world behind Giannis imo
- Phelps and Bolt were still their dominant selves in Rio 2016 before riding into the sunset once the games concluded
- Tiger is the reigning Masters champ and returned to the top 5 after countless surgeries
- Brady and his team won 3 of the last 6 SBs and won MVP in '17 although he clearly regressed this past year
- Manning won MVP at age 37 and won a SB in his last season albeit he was carried pretty hard by his defense
- Serena is still making finals but can't seem to win them
- Crosby is still one of the best players in the NHL although the young guys like McDavid and MacKinnon are probably better at this point
- Curry is still in the peak/prime of his career
- Hamilton and Vettel have won nearly every WC this decade although as you said, the player with better tech atm will be more dominant (which explains why Vettel was so good in 2010-2013 and Hamilton from 2014 onward)

So out of all the oldies besides the big 3, Messi/CR7, LeBron, and Hamilton are the only ones who can make a very strong argument that they are still the world's best. they are
I wouldn't count motorsports as I said, besides a great driver dominating in his 30s if he gets a great car has never been implausible. Football yes, wonder how popular the weak era concept is over there (don't know, not a fan). Tennis is very demanding in terms of movement though, 30-somethings are past prime. Like Bolt was able to win his last olympics despite running slower than his young peak - doesn't reflect well on competitors.
 

Jonesy

Hall of Fame
No surprise there. Greats will be greater than other eras in modern times because they can now extend their careers even more with the evolution of fitness knowledge.

Nadal isn't breaking his body like he did in the past and Djokovic looks really strong in the physical department, but it is the mental aspect that really sets those two apart from the rest of the tour right now.
 
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RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
So which physically intense sports are domimated by oldies besides tennis? I mean excluding things like golf, as well as motorsports where tech matters more (Prost retired as the world champ at 40 iirc).
Older players are still great in the sports I follow, hockey, nfl, nba, but there are amazing young talents lighting it up in each sport as well. No doubt that money, training, nutrition will keep top players playing and playing well longer in most sports, but tennis is the only one I follow where the young players have done absolutely nothing.
 
Older players are still great in the sports I follow, hockey, nfl, nba, but there are amazing young talents lighting it up in each sport as well. No doubt that money, training, nutrition will keep top players playing and playing well longer in most sports, but tennis is the only one I follow where the young players have done absolutely nothing.
Yep, a world of difference between being first and second and the old boats are no longer supreme to all - except in tennis.
 

RelentlessAttack

Hall of Fame
What does this mean? It means it is "game over. "
it means that Federer and Djokovic mopped up weak fields at the beginning/end of their peaks while peak Nadal went head to head with peak/prime versions of both players. Clearly Nadal is the strong era GOAT (2007-13).

Strong era slam counts:
Nadal - 11
Federer - 8
Nole - 6

YE#1
Nadal 3
Federer 2
Djokovic 2

As you can see, totally decisive and unbiased analysis.
 
it means that Federer and Djokovic mopped up weak fields at the beginning/end of their peaks while peak Nadal went head to head with peak/prime versions of both players. Clearly Nadal is the strong era GOAT (2007-13).

Strong era slam counts:
Nadal - 11
Federer - 8
Nole - 6

As you can see, totally decisive and unbiased analysis.
Indeed. "Game Over"
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
it means that Federer and Djokovic mopped up weak fields at the beginning/end of their peaks while peak Nadal went head to head with peak/prime versions of both players. Clearly Nadal is the strong era GOAT (2007-13).

Strong era slam counts:
Nadal - 11
Federer - 8
Nole - 6

YE#1
Nadal 3
Federer 2
Djokovic 2

As you can see, totally decisive and unbiased analysis.
Nadal had the most peak years from 2007-2013 though, out of the 3. Not surprising to see him come out on top in that case.
 

Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
Well, the really interesting thing here is that Fed at 33 had been facing two other ATG's for 6 (Djoker) and 9 (Nadal) years. Who have Nadal and Djoker been facing, other than a guy 5-6 years older than them? Very hard to compare, given that the scenarios of the three careers are quite different. What I think is amazing is that Djoker still seems capable of steamrolling tournaments, as does Nadal, at the ages of 33 and 34. I'd never have predicted that a decade ago. Where are all the young challengers? It's a common refrain, I know, but I don't see a young Nadal on the horizon, and no one can tell me that any of these young guys could even hold a candle to 2005 Nadal. I also don't see anyone with Djoker's ball-striking coming up through the ranks. The future of tennis seems like such a wasteland... after these three.
 

Azure

Legend
Well, the really interesting thing here is that Fed at 33 had been facing two other ATG's for 6 (Djoker) and 9 (Nadal) years. Who have Nadal and Djoker been facing, other than a guy 5-6 years older than them? Very hard to compare, given that the scenarios of the three careers are quite different. What I think is amazing is that Djoker still seems capable of steamrolling tournaments, as does Nadal, at the ages of 33 and 34. I'd never have predicted that a decade ago. Where are all the young challengers? It's a common refrain, I know, but I don't see a young Nadal on the horizon, and no one can tell me that any of these young guys could even hold a candle to 2005 Nadal. I also don't see anyone with Djoker's ball-striking coming up through the ranks. The future of tennis seems like such a wasteland... after these three.
You can say the same thing any which way you want. Take Nadal's case - he had to overcome a GOAT right from the age of 17 and by the time he had started collecting his victories and started getting into his peak, he had to contend with another GOAT in Djokovic for years. So yes, you can paint it any which way you want. End of the day when these guys are playing super long careers, they've had both- windows of opportunities to collect slams and have had tough periods.
 

Lew II

Legend
it means that Federer and Djokovic mopped up weak fields at the beginning/end of their peaks while peak Nadal went head to head with peak/prime versions of both players. Clearly Nadal is the strong era GOAT (2007-13).

Strong era slam counts:
Nadal - 11
Federer - 8
Nole - 6

YE#1
Nadal 3
Federer 2
Djokovic 2

As you can see, totally decisive and unbiased analysis.
You're underrating 2014-20 a lot.

Fedal were the top two ranked opponents in the first slam semi Nole made (2007 RG) and in the last (2020 AO).

Big3's highest win percentage against the field:

2020 - 94.4%
2011 - 91.3%
2012 - 90.3%
2013 - 89.7%
2015 - 88.9%
2014 - 88.7%
2017 - 88.5%
2019 - 87.8%

Slams won in these years: Djokovic 12, Nadal 9, Federer 3
 
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Winners or Errors

Hall of Fame
You can say the same thing any which way you want. Take Nadal's case - he had to overcome a GOAT right from the age of 17 and by the time he had started collecting his victories and started getting into his peak, he had to contend with another GOAT in Djokovic for years. So yes, you can paint it any which way you want. End of the day when these guys are playing super long careers, they've had both- windows of opportunities to collect slams and have had tough periods.
But the point is that teen phenoms were not surprising right up to Nadal. Look back at the list of young guys pulling off big victories, and you'll see the 90s, 80s, and 70s littered with them. What Nadal did did not surprise me in the least when he showed up on the scene and took his first French Open title at age 19 (not 17). Why not? Well, because of, perhaps, guys named Borg, Wilander, Kuerten, Hewitt, Safin, Chang, Courier, Edberg, Becker, McEnroe... all 20 or younger winning slams. Where are the young guys taking it from the older guys, like Nadal, Djoker, and Del Potro (the last 20 year old winner of a slam, in 2009 - and I remember watching him that summer - sad that the rest of his promising career was marred by injury) did? They are not doing it.
 

Azure

Legend
But the point is that teen phenoms were not surprising right up to Nadal. Look back at the list of young guys pulling off big victories, and you'll see the 90s, 80s, and 70s littered with them. What Nadal did did not surprise me in the least when he showed up on the scene and took his first French Open title at age 19 (not 17). Why not? Well, because of, perhaps, guys named Borg, Wilander, Kuerten, Hewitt, Safin, Chang, Courier, Edberg, Becker, McEnroe... all 20 or younger winning slams. Where are the young guys taking it from the older guys, like Nadal, Djoker, and Del Potro (the last 20 year old winner of a slam, in 2009 - and I remember watching him that summer - sad that the rest of his promising career was marred by injury) did? They are not doing it.
Teen phenoms were not new but elite athletes playing beyond the age of 30 at elite levels is new. None of the previous era greats were playing at levels that the trio are consistently displaying after the age of 30.

Your examples of teen sensations and a teen sensation like Nadal are vastly different. Nadal is possibly one of the greatest to lift the racket. When you are vying for a position of number one of all time, you would not expect two other candidates doing the same in your own time frame. Federer did not have an older goat candidate playing past a supposed expiry date, being ranked number 2 or 3 in the world for years on end, consistently. It is also true that he has had to contend with younger goats. I am not taking away that bit, just like Rafa has had to contend with Nole (who reached his peak at the heels of his own peak) and Fed, who was widely already considered the finest by the time Rafa was only 21-22. In Novak's case, he had to battle two established greats to build his own....he perhaps has no one gnawing at his feet at the moment (more likely due to their own superior games) but he himself had to do that bit from the time he got on to the scene. To me that sounds like a terrible prospect for any young kid.

As I mentioned earlier, when careers are this long, you are bound to have periods of fortune and misfortune. The trio is great not because of just raking in the slams but because they have been able to tweak their games to stay relevant and for working hard and pushing themselves to keep playing at an age most greats decided to hang up their rackets.
 

Nadal_Django

Hall of Fame
Manning 2013 is probably the best overall QB season ever. All kind of records were crushed that year by the "old man"...
And the guy was 37, and already with couple of injuries and surgeries. And we're talking serious injuries here, not the type of injuries you get from a walk in a park, or bathing your kids, but really serious health threatening injuries... ;)
 
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The Guru

Hall of Fame
Manning 2013 is probably the best overall QB season ever. All kind of records were crushed that year by the "old man"...
And the guy was 37, and already with couple of injuries and surgeries. And we're talking serious injuries here, not the type of injuries you get from a walk in a park, or bathing your kids, but really serious health threatening injuries... ;)
I'd also put 15-17 Brady up there with any 3 year stretch ever by a QB. PFF ranked him number 1 from 2015-2018 at the ages of 38-41. Not bad.
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
True that. Someone has to set the bar high. And others have to top it. They had very different maps to follow. Federer exploited new territory, while Nadal and Djokovic followed his route to overtake him.
Without 2017-2018 Federer would be a rich man's Sampras with a weaker backhand, which he eventually will be. For some.
That insult is beneath even me.

But maybe that says more about how i rate the 90's dudes.
 

blablavla

Legend
You're underrating 2014-20 a lot.

Fedal were the top two ranked opponents in the first slam semi Nole made (2007 RG) and in the last (2020 AO).

Big3's highest win percentage against the field:

2020 - 94.4%
2011 - 91.3%
2012 - 90.3%
2013 - 89.7%
2015 - 88.9%
2014 - 88.7%
2017 - 88.5%
2019 - 87.8%

Slams won in these years: Djokovic 12, Nadal 9, Federer 3
he's not.
2014 - 2020 is the period of time when the youngest generations failed to produce great players, hence you have the Big 3 dominating and inflating their achievements.
Toni Nadal is an expert, and you trust experts, don't you?
 

weakera

Legend
Good question. Based on what I've seen most of the names I listed above are still going very strong.

- Messi and Ronaldo are still the two best players in the world and it still isn't close imo
- The big 3 are still the top 3 by a landslide
- LeBron is the second best player in the world behind Giannis imo
- Phelps and Bolt were still their dominant selves in Rio 2016 before riding into the sunset once the games concluded
- Tiger is the reigning Masters champ and returned to the top 5 after countless surgeries
- Brady and his team won 3 of the last 6 SBs and won MVP in '17 although he clearly regressed this past year
- Manning won MVP at age 37 and won a SB in his last season albeit he was carried pretty hard by his defense
- Serena is still making finals but can't seem to win them
- Crosby is still one of the best players in the NHL although the young guys like McDavid and MacKinnon are probably better at this point
- Curry is still in the peak/prime of his career
- Hamilton and Vettel have won nearly every WC this decade although as you said, the player with better tech atm will be more dominant (which explains why Vettel was so good in 2010-2013 and Hamilton from 2014 onward)

So out of all the oldies besides the big 3, Messi/CR7, LeBron, and Hamilton are the only ones who can make a very strong argument that they are still the world's best.
LeBron is still better than Giannis.
 

Red Rick

Talk Tennis Guru
when Fed started, he had others ahead of him.
he had to defeat Pistol Pete and Agassi, he had to defeat some other great players, including a bunch of great players from his own generation.
Lol this is so not the same thing.
 

blablavla

Legend
Lol this is so not the same thing.
really?
this is why Dimitrov, Raonic, Thiem, Zverev, Tsitsipas etc. all dominate the game since 6 years?
oh, wait a second, they don't actually.

or do you think that Agassi would retire if he would keep winning tournament after tournament?
 
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