Current day 30-35yo ATP pros who peaked early?

#1
Would we agree that Gasquet is an example of this, at least on clay if not all surfaces? With the exception of his surprising mid career SF appearances at Wimbledon, I always thought he was much more impressive as a younger player than he was at 25-30+

Anyway, not to focus too much on Gasquet, what other ATP players currently around the 30-35+ age would fit this description? Are there any players, barring injury, whose best level (and possibly biggest achievements) occurred in the first few years of their career?
 
#5
Definite candidates. Berdych at 3-5kgs lighter and a bit leaner around the hips and legs seemed to have been his best version physically. Maybe had a smidgen more self belief in the earlier days too?

Its tough with Berdych because his Wimbledon finish mid-career was a highlight, but it never felt like he would be able to beat Nadal in a final like it did when he played Nadal in the earlier stages of his career.
 

Jonas78

Hall of Fame
#6
Definite candidates. Berdych at 3-5kgs lighter and a bit leaner around the hips and legs seemed to have been his best version physically. Maybe had a smidgen more self belief in the earlier days too?

Its tough with Berdych because his Wimbledon finish mid-career was a highlight, but it never felt like he would be able to beat Nadal in a final like it did when he played Nadal in the earlier stages of his career.
Birdman is a bit complicated. He was more consistent later career, but he turned into the biggest choker on tour, so he was never a threat to win anything big. At 19-22 he beat peak-Fed at olympics, won his only Masters, and won Halle. Also beat Nads three times in a row.
 
#7
Most of these types have retired due to their career trajectories I'd say, sometimes a little early (compared to today's super-oldies).

Roddick, Nalby, Gonzo, Youzhny. Many from the Hewitt/Ferrero gen, but they'd be too old to realistically play now in any case.

Some that sorta fit who still play are Robredo and Simon. Still play, but at their best some 10 years ago. Almagro just retired, I suppose he was best in his early 20s.
 
#8
Tsonga's best tournament was clearly the Australian Open in my opinion. He was fearless at the time and didn't knew his limits to reach his first final, but couldn't play to his earlier rounds level in the final. He injured himself shortly after the AO.

Of course he had more consistent results later but I think he never rose to the same playing level again.
 

Jonas78

Hall of Fame
#9
Tsonga's best tournament was clearly the Australian Open in my opinion. He was fearless at the time and didn't knew his limits to reach his first final, but couldn't play to his earlier rounds level in the final. He injured himself shortly after the AO.

Of course he had more consistent results later but I think he never rose to the same playing level again.
Yeah Tsonga and of course Del Potro are also candidates.
 
#12
Tsonga's best tournament was clearly the Australian Open in my opinion. He was fearless at the time and didn't knew his limits to reach his first final, but couldn't play to his earlier rounds level in the final. He injured himself shortly after the AO.

Of course he had more consistent results later but I think he never rose to the same playing level again.
Agree.
 
#16
Do you think this current generation is the exception to the rule because there are so many ATGs?
Yes, a very strong Federer and a very strong 85-88 generation, combined with a very weak 89-?? generation has made the mean age rise to the extreme. I expect it will drop like a stone when Big4 are finished winning slams, because it is not the Nishikori and Raonic generation that will take over. I think we are seing tendencies that the final 8 in big tournaments are post 30 or really young. At MC i think there was 2 players between 23 and 30 in the QFs, in Miami i think there were none?!?

I think a common mistake is thinking 30 is the new 20 because Fedalovic still wins the slams. But its important to remember that winning slams isnt the same as being peak. Usain Bolt could also win OGs in his 30s although he wasnt as fast as in his 20s. Big4 should be glad they arent facing younger versions of themselves.
 
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#20
Not really because the rest of the top 10 is not filled with youngsters.
I am on the fence on this one. The ATP rankings are for 1 year and not really representative of the current player’s strength. Even so you have Zverev, Thiem and Tsitsi in the top 8; with Nishi at an acceptable 29 yo this makes half of them under 30. Not that bad.

But if you look at the Race which accurately shows the current level, you have:
-6 out of Top 15 at 25 or under
-11 of the top 20 at 25 or under (9 of them U23) and 6 over 30
-14 of the top 30 at 25 or less (12 of them U23) (and 10 over 30

If we look at the older over 30’s in the Top 50 it’s clear most of them are on the way down results-wise (Anderson, Isner, Simon, Berdych, Cuevas, Andujar, Fognini, Stan, Tsonga) or at least level-wise (Big 3). Sure, some of them will still have a great win or run or two - Isner, Monfils, Agut - but surely it’s just a matter of time before they fall off.

If the trend continues and the young(er) guns get a few confidence boosting wins, we could see the 30+ erased from the picture by the end of the year, and Big 3 to slowly get pushed aside by the end of next one. And my guess is it won’t be the Nishikori’s, Raonic’s and Dimitrov’s taking over.
 
#21
Yes, a very strong Federer and a very strong 85-88 generation, combined with a very weak 89-?? generation has made the mean age rise to the extreme. I expect it will drop like a stone when Big4 are finished winning slams, because it is not the Nishikori and Raonic generation that will take over. I think we are seing tendencies that the final 8 in big tournaments are post 30 or really young. At MC i think there was 2 players between 23 and 30 in the QFs, in Miami i think there were none?!?

I think a common mistake is thinking 30 is the new 20 because Fedalovic still wins the slams. But its important to remember that winning slams isnt the same as being peak. Usain Bolt could also win OGs in his 30s although he wasnt as fast as in his 20s. Big4 should be glad they arent facing younger versions of themselves.
Interesting perspective on it.

Not really because the rest of the top 10 is not filled with youngsters.
Good point.
 
#22
Some of these answers are wrong; they describe players who played above their natural for a while, rather than who "peaked too early"

Take Nishikori. After the 2014 US Open everyone believed he'd reached a new level. He's never replicated that level in a single match since.

Some players can play above their natural level for a while i.e. Baghdatis in 2006. Other examples of players who have done include Rusedski and Schuttler (the latter finished 2003 in top 6 but never finished another year in the top 30.) These players were clearly not top 10 talents, they just hit a hot run of form that they were never capable of maintaining.

Some other talented players do peak too early i.e. Del Potro. He's shown flashes of that level since then, he had the potential to consistently challenge the top 4. But injuries have prevented him from doing so. Tsonga is a similar story, a player who should have been able to win a major somewhere.

Plenty of players from the "weak era" peaked too early. Hewitt (was not the same player after major surgery) Roddick (for some reason turned his beastly forehand into a pushy spinny shot that didn't suit his game.) and Safin (headcase.) There's not actually that many of those around these days, the overall "talent" level of the 89-?? gen is really poor.
 
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