Bigger factor- Tennis Age vs Actual Age (at the rec level)

Alchemy-Z

Hall of Fame
I have been playing for 4 years now (age 34)

Every season I have improved and made an improvement on my winning record.

Yet every season this happens - I play some guy who is 50+ in singles during a 18+ league match and I win and the same comment always is

"well you got 20 years on me blah blah blah"

so that past few years I counter with this - "maybe but how many Tennis years do you have?" and most answer any where from 15 to 20 years playing.

To me the tennis years count for more because I have played other 50+ guys who worked me over and won 6-2 6-2.


I kinda wish I could get a little credit for my game instead of "well you are just young"

I beat the guy 6-3 6-3
last season our other singles guy who i practice with weekly (who is 56) been playing for 20+ years beat him 6-2 6-4 (so age was no factor) after that match he praises my team mate for his amazing singles game :???:

So what do you think counts for more

Actual age?

Tennis age?
 

jswinf

Professional
From the title I thought you were talking about "He's 60 but he plays like a 45-year-old" or "He's 32 but so heavy and out of shape he plays like a 60-year-old." I was ready to say definitely Tennis Age, the age you play like is more important than the age you actually are.

But that's not what you're talking about, and your real question is kind of ho-hum (sorry.) By your thinking if a player has 90 or 100 Tennis Years he should be pretty much invincible, but...maybe he doesn't move very well?

Certainly tennis experience counts for a lot, but off the top of my head I'd say someone who plays a lot of tennis for 10 years has enough experience to be as good as experience alone will make them. Not that they can't improve more by lessons, playing more, competition, fitness, etc. But a couple more decades of going out once or twice a week and hitting the ball around doesn't provide any mystical advantage. (It's been fun, though.)

And a really athletic, fit, younger guy can compete even without a lot of tennis "skill" by chasing down ball after ball and getting them back.

Let's see how you feel in 20 years when "the Kid" comes after you. :)
 

coyote

Semi-Pro
I hate to be the one who break it to you.

It is all downhill from here.
Agree, I hope 40 treats you better than it did me. Still, I can't imagine losing to someone who has played four years.

On the other hand, what are the doubles results. As many of us age, we can't play singles at a high level but our doubles tends to remain much better.
 

beernutz

Hall of Fame
I have been playing for 4 years now (age 34)

Every season I have improved and made an improvement on my winning record.

Yet every season this happens - I play some guy who is 50+ in singles during a 18+ league match and I win and the same comment always is

"well you got 20 years on me blah blah blah"

so that past few years I counter with this - "maybe but how many Tennis years do you have?" and most answer any where from 15 to 20 years playing.

To me the tennis years count for more because I have played other 50+ guys who worked me over and won 6-2 6-2.


I kinda wish I could get a little credit for my game instead of "well you are just young"

I beat the guy 6-3 6-3
last season our other singles guy who i practice with weekly (who is 56) been playing for 20+ years beat him 6-2 6-4 (so age was no factor) after that match he praises my team mate for his amazing singles game :???:

So what do you think counts for more

Actual age?

Tennis age?
So you've never lost to somebody and said (or thought) something to the effect of, "well I've only been playing 4 years"?
 

Alchemy-Z

Hall of Fame
I hate to be the one who break it to you.

It is all downhill from here.
:) figures...

Yeah thinking it over as a rec person that hits a few times a week we probably all max out on talent/stroke improvement after (7-10 years) so any thing after that is just more of the same?

I enjoy playing and have no illusions of going beyond probably a strong 4.0 starting so late with tennis and limited time due to new family to take lessons or anything and basically be self taught/youtube assisted.

so I guess the toughest (non former college-junior etc) rec league player would be a 28 year old having started when he was 20 self teaching and having maybe a hit twice a week.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Fugure....
4 years of solid tennis can get a decent athlete up to 4.0 level.
For a 50 year old to play singles at 4.0, he must have been better at one time in his life, especially if he's been playing tennis for "15-20" years.
When he was better, and younger, those are the days he was talking about.
 

Alchemy-Z

Hall of Fame
So you've never lost to somebody and said (or thought) something to the effect of, "well I've only been playing 4 years"?
my 1st season I was quite guilty of that as I went 1-9 on singles and having been one of the better players of my former sport (hockey) my ego was not taking it well :mad: and I kept saying to myself - you are just new and being fed to the wolves (since i was the youngest at the time = always play #1 singles)

but by the next fall I had learned to just enjoy it and take wins and losses as education vs making excuses for them.

If i play a person who has a particular good shot in his game i normally complement them on it at the end of the match win or lose and try to pay attention to how they use it and add it to my mental coaching.

But i really feel it's a sport that takes Time to be good at just being athletic with a racquet and chasing balls down does not make a good player.
 

Alchemy-Z

Hall of Fame
Fugure....
4 years of solid tennis can get a decent athlete up to 4.0 level.
For a 50 year old to play singles at 4.0, he must have been better at one time in his life, especially if he's been playing tennis for "15-20" years.
When he was better, and younger, those are the days he was talking about.
Ok I see that...guess I am really trying to gauge my peak and set goals for myself but also have the realization that one day i will hit "this is good as it gets"

I just think many of the younger players comming up in the leagues get written off as one trick pony ball chasers and the attitude given out by the older guys that have been playing a decade tends to say "go be young somewhere else this is our sport" which I guess is why we have so few guy even under 40 playing.
 

jdubbs

Hall of Fame
I love being thought of as younger than I actually am, which is low 40's. But I've maintained my fitness so can chase down plenty of balls and mostly play guys in their 20's and early 30's.

Singles tennis is really two pronged, skill and fitness. Either one of those are weak and you will have problems, no matter what your age.
 

goober

Legend
Ok I see that...guess I am really trying to gauge my peak and set goals for myself but also have the realization that one day i will hit "this is good as it gets"

I just think many of the younger players comming up in the leagues get written off as one trick pony ball chasers and the attitude given out by the older guys that have been playing a decade tends to say "go be young somewhere else this is our sport" which I guess is why we have so few guy even under 40 playing.
You really think that the number of guys playing tennis in their 20 and 30s has anything to do with old guys complaining? Sheesh. In this country people play other sports growing up and then take up tennis when they get older because the only sport you see old guys playing are golf and tennis. Football, soccer, basketball, baseball and hockey are the main sports and those are not friendly to those above 40 both physically and playing in an organized fashion. I think you are way being too sensitive. Believe me if you have skill, people will know it. But most of these old guys who you beat just want to make some small talk excuse. Even though it may be entirely valid excuse, why let it bother you?
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Goober has some excellent points.
Most of my friends didn't take up tennis until after their other sports career was slipping into oblivion.
I started at 24, to recover from a tib/fib compound that required 6 pins, wire, plate, and two threaded screws. Figured, after 13 months in a series of casts, some leg excersise would quicken the recovery time over just surfing. When I started tennis, 2 years after the cast removal, I still couldn't run at all.
 
I love being thought of as younger than I actually am, which is low 40's. But I've maintained my fitness so can chase down plenty of balls and mostly play guys in their 20's and early 30's.

Singles tennis is really two pronged, skill and fitness. Either one of those are weak and you will have problems, no matter what your age.

Ditto, and well said...
 
I hate to be the one who break it to you.

It is all downhill from here.
I think he can still improve at age 34 if he is only playing 4 years. of course it is going downhill physically (if he is fit, if you are not trained you even can get fitter at that age albeit of course not as fit as a 20yo would get) but tennis is a skill sport to a large degree and improving skill can compensate for physically slowing down to some degree.

John Mcenroe is 55 and he can still beat most 20 yo elite athletes (if they are not pro tennis players).

of course he is likely not as talented as john mcenroe and will never be as good but if he stays healthy and works hard he can easily be better than now in 10 years (depending on how good he is now, I'm not asuming he is a 5.0 player after 4 years which of course would be a level that is hard to hold at that age if you are not mac).
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
It's been beaten like a dead horse that it's much easier to maintain your skills you learned at 15 even after you reach 50, than to START the game at 35 and try to progress to.....4.5.
NO CHANCE anyone starting at 35 will ever progress to a 5.0 level at any time in their life.
Yes, a few super athletes might be able to, but they are super athletes who are rich with no responsibilities other than their own tennis game.
 

mucat

Hall of Fame
You will get better with your skills but you are also getting slower with age. It is difficult to use your improved skills when you cannot get to the ball in time.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Bingo!
And somewhere between ages 50-65, your diminishing physical skills actually drop faster than any accumulating hitting or mental skills.
 
A

Attila_the_gorilla

Guest
The older you get, you need to focus on doubles more. And also, try to compete within your age group if possible.
As you get older, actual age matters more than tennis experience.
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
Bingo!
And somewhere between ages 50-65, your diminishing physical skills actually drop faster than any accumulating hitting or mental skills.
I agree... that sounds about right. Which is why tennis becomes more and more about fitness as you get past 50. A generic 4.5 player that can simply maintain the skills and keep a very high level of fitness is an assassin by the O60s...
 

navigator

Hall of Fame
The older you get, you need to focus on doubles more. And also, try to compete within your age group if possible.
As you get older, actual age matters more than tennis experience.
I'd add - if at all possible, stay away from hard courts. Playing on clay or har tru or one of the padded courts will dramatically reduce damage to the joints, and will extend your tennis playing life.
 

NLBwell

Legend
The only thing that matters is how good you are at tennis. A top 70+ year old will beat up on 20 year old 3.5 hackers 6-0, 6-0.
Yes, a top pro will not be nearly as good at 40 (or 50, or 60, etc.) as he was in his prime, but most of us can keep improving for many years.
If you've only been playing for 4 years, it is entirely possible that you will be a better player when you are 54 or even 74 than you are at 34. (Life gets in the way of practice time, however, so there's a good chance this won't be the case.)
 
If you've only been playing for 4 years, it is entirely possible that you will be a better player when you are 54 or even 74 than you are at 34..)
I completely agree. I started playing 15 years ago when I was 36 after deciding I was too old to continue playing basketball. It took me 3 years to make it to 4.0 and then 5 more years to 4.5. I am a mid-level 4.5 now and at 51 feel like I am playing the best tennis of my life.

I cannot compete with the younger 4.5s in singles but win 50% of my matches in doubles. You can improve for many more years with such a late start.
 

Alchemy-Z

Hall of Fame
I completely agree. I started playing 15 years ago when I was 36 after deciding I was too old to continue playing basketball. It took me 3 years to make it to 4.0 and then 5 more years to 4.5. I am a mid-level 4.5 now and at 51 feel like I am playing the best tennis of my life.

I cannot compete with the younger 4.5s in singles but win 50% of my matches in doubles. You can improve for many more years with such a late start.

This is good to hear - I have always been athletic and I feel like I pick up tennis quickly -
example I started with a one handed backhand (that is what my Dad plays) for my first season and it seemed to be a weakness everyone was attacking.

changed to a 2HBH which felt more natural from Hockey and now my DTL back hand is one of my bigger weapons.

and I do feel like one day when I am 44 I will look back and think I could blast my 34 year old versions of the court.
 
Top