Rise of the old guard yet again. Should the ATP be slightly concerned for the future?

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
So our QF are (almost) set for another slam and there's nobody under the age of 26. 5 of the 9 players remaining are over 30 and 2 more are 29.

Murray (30yo) v Querrey (29yo)
Muller (34yo) v Cilic (28yo)
Raonic (26yo) v Federer (35yo)
Berdych (31yo) v either Mannarino (29yo) or Djokovic (30yo)

Compare it to the women's QF's:
Muguruza (23yo) v Kuznetsova (32yo)
Rybarikova (28yo) v Vandeweghe (25yo)
Venus (37yo) v Ostapenko (20yo)
Konta (26yo) v Halep (25yo)

Nobody younger than a 26yo on the mens tour yet on the womens tour, 5 of the 8 are 26 or younger.

While it's great to see familiar names in there for the mens side, including 3 of the big 4, you have to ask, what happens when they all retire? Zverev, Kyrgios, Dimitrov, Thiem, Tomic, Sock and more are all failing to make slam QF's, SF's or finals. Thiem is the only one to make a slam SF in the past 2 years.

So why can't the younger men do what the older men do? Dimitrov fell in the 4R of this years Wimbledon as did Thiem and Zverev. 21yo Khachanov and 20yo Donaldson fell in the 3R.

Zverev was hyped cause he won a Masters but yet he still hasn't made a slam QF!


The French Open QF's tell a similar story:

Murray (30yo) v Nishikori (27yo)
Wawrinka (32yo) v Cilic (28yo)
Carreno Busta (25yo) v Nadal (31yo)
Thiem (23yo) v Djokovic (30yo)

Compared to the women:
Ostapenko (19yo) v Wozniacki (26yo)
Mladenovic (24yo) v Bacsinszky (28yo)
Svitolina (22yo) v Halep (25yo)
Garcia (23yo) v Pliskova (25yo)

So, what's going on? We have 34 year old Muller making a slam QF a whopping 9 years after his last slam QF yet Zverev and co still can't make a Wimbledon QF despite supposedly being young guns? Who's going to tune in for some no name finals in a couple years when the big 4 are gone? We assume it'll be someone somewhat recognizable winning slams like Thiem or Kyrgios but what if it's some unknown? I won't want to tune in and watch that. As is, i'm only really watching the big 4's matches + Tomic, Kyrgios and Thiem. ATP are sitting pretty at the moment with the big 4 and their great matches but that can't last forever. They could be in a real bind like they were in the early 2000's when the ATP struggled with a name of big star power.
 
D

Deleted member 307496

Guest
Muller just achieved his career best ranking recently (26) and after Wimbledon he could be ranked as high as 22, even if he loses to Cilic.
 

La Grande

G.O.A.T.
Hmm. My current view on this is a little bit weird. I don't think the ATP should be too concerned, they should actually be grateful. Grateful that the old guard will basically stick around indefinitely until finally a generation of players appear to be ready to entertain us.

Lol, you could imagine Federer and Nadal slogging it out in 10 years time, with the commies still saying "Where is the Next Gen????"
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
Zverev, Thiem and Coric will probably run the show after 2018. It's not long too wait, so enjoy this final time with the big 4 while we still can.
Zverev and Coric haven't even made slam QF's at this stage. How on earth will they "run the show"? I feel like it's more likely we'll get some surprise newcomers coming through the ranks.
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
Hmm. My current view on this is a little bit weird. I don't think the ATP should be too concerned, they should actually be grateful. Grateful that the old guard will basically stick around indefinitely until finally a generation of players appear to be ready to entertain us.

Lol, you could imagine Federer and Nadal slogging it out in 10 years time, with the commies still saying "Where is the Next Gen????"
Fair, but one of my points is, we won't know who they are and that'll cause a drop in interest and viewership. We saw it with the Nishikori v Cilic USO final. Without the Big 4 names, people tuned off. Imagine that but on a worse scale with some younger players who we don't even know? If it's Thiem v Kyrgios than that wouldn't be too bad but imagine it's Donaldson v Shapovalov? I wouldn't watch that. These young guns need to generate public interest in themselves before they make slam finals. I just don't see Zverev and co scooping the slams.
 
@Aussie Darcy

And it's not as though the women's draw is young. Historically speaking, it's old: no teenagers, only one under 23, only two under 25, two past 32, and one is a whopping 37 (older than any of the men, for that matter). It's just that the women have a full spread of ages, whereas the men only have older or middle-aged players.

By the way, is Ostapenko the long-awaited next dominant player?
 

OrangePower

Legend
So our QF are (almost) set for another slam and there's nobody under the age of 26. 5 of the 9 players remaining are over 30 and 2 more are 29.

Murray (30yo) v Querrey (29yo)
Muller (34yo) v Cilic (28yo)
Raonic (26yo) v Federer (35yo)
Berdych (31yo) v either Mannarino (29yo) or Djokovic (30yo)
Compare with QF 10 years ago:

Federer (25yo) v Ferrero (27yo)
Roddick (24yo) v Gasquet (21yo)
Baghdatis (22yo) v Djokovic (20yo)
Berdych (21yo) v Nadal (21yo)

Heck, the oldest guy in 2007 QF (Ferrero) was only 10 months older than the youngest this year (Raonic) is currently.

Future of tennis looking pretty sad.
 

sportmac

Hall of Fame
Something like 18 of the top 30 ranked players are 29 or older.

The women have two slam winners in their early 20's ("one slam wonders" if you listen to the naysayers).

The lost/next gen have managed to produce a "one Masters wonder" in Zverev.

You have to go back to 2010 to find the previous winners. Lubjicic and Soderling won 2 of the 8 Masters that year.
I'm not sure which "gen" they belong to.

These guys can't even make it to finals.

What the ATP is going to have is slam winners through attrition, with no known names, let alone big ones, leading the way.
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
With what I am seeing, I see the following in top 10 , even assuming all of big 4 vanish. While Fed may retire by 2018 or 19, I don't see why Murray, Novak and Rafa will retire any time in the next 4-5 years . They will win some more.



Cilic
Raonic
Nishikori
Agut
Berdych
Tsonga
Kyrgios
Zverev
Thiem
Pouille

No Donaldson, Tiafoe, Shapavalov, etxc
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
@Aussie Darcy

And it's not as though the women's draw is young. Historically speaking, it's old: no teenagers, only one under 23, only two under 25, two past 32, and one is a whopping 37 (older than any of the men, for that matter). It's just that the women have a full spread of ages, whereas the men only have older or middle-aged players.

By the way, is Ostapenko the long-awaited next dominant player?
I feel like it's been a while since we've had a number of teenagers in a slam QF. Yes, they used to dominate back in the Hingis days but since the likes of Serena, Stosur and Kuznetsova who use their physical strength to overpower their opponents, we haven't really had many.

Venus is an outlier at 37 but over half the womens QFists are younger than the youngest male and that's something.

And yes, it appears Ostapenko is becoming quite dominant.
 

Thundergod

Professional
I thought the QF lineups at AO and FO were old enough, but i guess I was wrong.

You don't want to know what happens to tennis after the Big 4 retire unless a tier 1 ATG spawns out of the blue.
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
With what I am seeing, I see the following in top 10 , even assuming all of big 4 vanish. While Fed may retire by 2018 or 19, I don't see why Murray, Novak and Rafa will retire any time in the next 4-5 years . They will win some more.



Cilic
Raonic
Nishikori
Agut
Berdych
Tsonga
Kyrgios
Zverev
Thiem
Pouille

No Donaldson, Tiafoe, Shapavalov, etxc
Yikes, don't think i'd bother to tune into finals if it's contested between Berdych, Agut, Cilic or Raonic. Maybe Nishikori.. But i'd watch the other players.
 
I feel like it's been a while since we've had a number of teenagers in a slam QF. Yes, they used to dominate back in the Hingis days but since the likes of Serena, Stosur and Kuznetsova who use their physical strength to overpower their opponents, we haven't really had many.

Venus is an outlier at 37 but over half the womens QFists are younger than the youngest male and that's something.

And yes, it appears Ostapenko is becoming quite dominant.
Yes, that's true. Last year, when Konjuh made the US Open quarters at 18, she was the youngest Slam quarter-finalist in a decade. I'm not sure how many 19-year-olds made it in between. At the very least, Sharapova did so at AO 2007, shortly before her 20th birthday.

Yes, Venus is an outlier, but even 32 (Kuznetsova's age) is hardly young. I mean, Kuznetsova won a Slam almost 13 years ago!
 
I liked this, because I've been saying for ages that the old guard are much further from disappearing than most posters think. But despite that, I don't foresee Berdych and Tsonga climbing much back up the rankings. I think they can have moments of glory. But at their age, it's hard to maintain a high ranking, just because it's hard to be bothered with every single tournament anymore.

With what I am seeing, I see the following in top 10 , even assuming all of big 4 vanish. While Fed may retire by 2018 or 19, I don't see why Murray, Novak and Rafa will retire any time in the next 4-5 years . They will win some more.



Cilic
Raonic
Nishikori
Agut
Berdych
Tsonga
Kyrgios
Zverev
Thiem
Pouille

No Donaldson, Tiafoe, Shapavalov, etxc
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
Yes, that's true. Last year, when Konjuh made the US Open quarters at 18, she was the youngest Slam quarter-finalist in a decade. I'm not sure how many 19-year-olds made it in between. At the very least, Sharapova did so at AO 2007, shortly before her 20th birthday.

Yes, Venus is an outlier, but even 32 (Kuznetsova's age) is hardly young. I mean, Kuznetsova won a Slam almost 13 years ago!
Probably only Ostapenko who was 19 during the French Open and turned 20 on the day of her SF.

And yes Kuznetsova is also part of the old guard but that's 2/8 as opposed to most of the mens QF.
 
Probably only Ostapenko who was 19 during the French Open and turned 20 on the day of her SF.

And yes Kuznetsova is also part of the old guard but that's 2/8 as opposed to most of the mens QF.
Yeah - that's why I said that the women's are mixed in age. One other way of parsing it:

7/8 men are 28 or more (regardless of the Mannarino/Djokovic result).
3/8 women are 28 or more (Williams, Kuznetsova, Rybarikova).
 
N

nikdom

Guest
Why does age matter exactly? It's a meritocratic sport... the 'grandpas' are not exactly hanging handicapped parking signs to reserve their spots at the top.

If it takes longer for players to mature these days that only says the quality of the sport at the top is very high and reflects not just athletic prowess but tennis smarts, focus, smart scheduling and professionalism.

Would you rather have more fresh faces show up at the expense of sustained quality? Wouldn't it make the ATP more like the WTA with a rotating cast of relative unknowns, underperforming veterans and no sustained rivalries...
 
@Aussie Darcy

Some other 19-year-olds in Slam quarter-finals since 2006:

- Azarenka lost QF at RG and WI in 2009. She turned 20 on 31 July 2009.
- Wozniacki lost F at UO 2009 and QF at RG 2010. She turned 20 on 11 July 2010.
- Lisicki lost QF at WI in 2009. She turned 20 on 22 September 2009.
- Pavlyuchenkova lost QF at RG in 2011. She turned 20 on 3 July 2011.

I'll check for the full list of teen Slam quarter-finalists since Sharapova turned 20 and post an update.
 

Thundergod

Professional
Forgot to add that the WTA is weird in some respects too. Although, it is much easier for younger women to have success than men in tennis, you had people like Serena dominating in her mid 30s, Venus playing her best tennis in years, and Lucic Baroni making her first SF in forever I think. It is harder to gauge the WTA since they don't have a solidified top group and things really hinge on whether Serena is playing or not.
 

Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Roger Federer in 2004 created a monster, going to a level of consistent play which only a tiny handful of other players have managed to rival. Let us not forget that in the years just before 2004, even when Lleyton Hewitt was world number 1 for 80 weeks, the perceived wisdom was that no player would dominate because the level was too good for that. Federer changed all that in a massive way, as did Nadal, and then Djokovic. A few others like Murray and Wawrinka have had their big moments at elite level, but the other players have been left behind, including the generation that have come through in the 2010s decade.
 
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Mustard

Talk Tennis Guru
Forgot to add that the WTA is weird in some respects too. Although, it is much easier for younger women to have success than men in tennis, you had people like Serena dominating in her mid 30s, Venus playing her best tennis in years, and Lucic Baroni making her first SF in forever I think. It is harder to gauge the WTA since they don't have a solidified top group and things really hinge on whether Serena is playing or not.
Contrast that with around 25 years ago when there was a core group of top players, like Seles, Graf, Sanchez Vicario, Sabatini, Capriati, Navratilova, Novotna, Fernandez, Pierce, Martinez.
 

OKUSA

Hall of Fame
Zverev and Coric haven't even made slam QF's at this stage. How on earth will they "run the show"? I feel like it's more likely we'll get some surprise newcomers coming through the ranks.
i've been hearing this since 2010 bud. nobody new is coming through the ranks. every men's tennis player born in the 90s and after are awful
 

Aussie Darcy

Bionic Poster
i've been hearing this since 2010 bud. nobody new is coming through the ranks. every men's tennis player born in the 90s and after are awful
45 year old slam champ Federer in 2027 then? ;) Or are we going to skip a whole decade and have players born in the year 2000 scoop them up?
 
@Aussie Darcy

And it's not as though the women's draw is young. Historically speaking, it's old: no teenagers, only one under 23, only two under 25, two past 32, and one is a whopping 37 (older than any of the men, for that matter). It's just that the women have a full spread of ages, whereas the men only have older or middle-aged players.

By the way, is Ostapenko the long-awaited next dominant player?
Average Ws is still way younger. Ws problem is the consistency and no Big 5 which I think started to getting more consistent now although still more upset than Ms.
Thiem should already make Final GS, his counterpart Muguruza already well established with 2 Slams final.
Zverev should make a deep run in GS soon, his counterpart Ostapenko already win one.
Also if we compare Coric and Konjuh (Both USO Junior champ at same year), Konjuh already reach QF GS.

So cheers to Ms youngster and Ws getting more stability.
 
Average Ws is still way younger. Ws problem is the consistency and no Big 5 which I think started to getting more consistent now although still more upset than Ms.
Thiem should already make Final GS, his counterpart Muguruza already well established with 2 Slams final.
Zverev should make a deep run in GS soon, his counterpart Ostapenko already win one.
Also if we compare Coric and Konjuh (Both USO Junior champ at same year), Konjuh already reach QF GS.

So cheers to Ms youngster and Ws getting more stability.
That's all true. I was just saying that compared to women's draws in yesteryears, this year's crop is not young. Back in the day, a field with 6 of 8 25 or more would have been deemed positively old. Compared to the men's draw, the women's is definitely a lot younger and more spread out.
 

HipRotation

Hall of Fame
It feels to me that we've entered an age of ultra-professionalism where the top stay top and the new guys have little to no chance to break the hegemony.
 

Thundergod

Professional
It feels to me that we've entered an age of ultra-professionalism where the top stay top and the new guys have little to no chance to break the hegemony.
If they are good enough then they should. You can't tell me that mid tier old guys like Muller and Lopez should have any business stealing titles away from some of these young guys. Some of the old guys like Muller, Karlovic, and Lorenzi have had career best years in recent years which shouldn't happen. These guys were never near the top either, especially Lorenzi.
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
While it's great to see familiar names in there for the mens side, including 3 of the big 4, you have to ask, what happens when they all retire
what happens when they retire? The game moves on and all is fine. In 2002 a pair of old guard players named Pete and Andre played for the US Open title. The match was exciting, Pete retired, and within a year we saw the emergence to stardom of one Roger Federer. The game and the ATP will be fine.
 
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nikdom

Guest
If they are good enough then they should. You can't tell me that mid tier old guys like Muller and Lopez should have any business stealing titles away from some of these young guys. Some of the old guys like Muller, Karlovic, and Lorenzi have had career best years in recent years which shouldn't happen. These guys were never near the top either, especially Lorenzi.

What part of free and fair competition is so confusing?
 

Rjtennis

Hall of Fame
Zverev and Coric haven't even made slam QF's at this stage. How on earth will they "run the show"? I feel like it's more likely we'll get some surprise newcomers coming through the ranks.
I think you are prob right, some newcomers will storm the scene.

With all the "next gen" marketing you can clearly tell that the ATP is worried about when the stars retire.
 

TennisaGoGo

Semi-Pro
Fair, but one of my points is, we won't know who they are and that'll cause a drop in interest and viewership. We saw it with the Nishikori v Cilic USO final. Without the Big 4 names, people tuned off. Imagine that but on a worse scale with some younger players who we don't even know? If it's Thiem v Kyrgios than that wouldn't be too bad but imagine it's Donaldson v Shapovalov? I wouldn't watch that. These young guns need to generate public interest in themselves before they make slam finals. I just don't see Zverev and co scooping the slams.
Agree. Taylor Fritz has a shot of being that combo of entertaining and elite, but I believe his game has taken a temporary hit since he got married and became a dad. That while being a pro tennis player is a lot for anyone, never mind for a 19 year old. Give him a few years to adjust.
 

70後

Hall of Fame
The trade off is normally physical capital for the knowledge asset. Giving up youth for wisdom. But if those who are gaining the knowledge (experience) asset are now giving up less than what they gain, compared to the past, the young players do not have very much more edge in physical capital over the older players, but haven't gained enough knowledge asset. So it is the older players who have both.

What those numbers tell me is that it isn't so much that older players are dominating because of an aging population and a low birth rate, in tennis terms, but rather that older players who managed to SURVIVE this long were those able to escape the bottleneck of being killed off as they grew old and are still able to keep on top. They are like old wolves who made it through several winters, hard times, famines, and challenges from younger stronger rivals.

imo, there is no need to worry if you allow the universe to take its own cycle.
 

Calvin27

Rookie
I think you are prob right, some newcomers will storm the scene.
I disagree. I think the modern game is much too fast paced and has too much endurance qualities that favour experience. We have seen hot shot time and time again burn out either mentally or physically. Raonic is the only one that seems to have it together, his time will come when the others get hip and knee replacements.
 

70後

Hall of Fame
As to the women's side in the op, if Serena were there in place of Ostapenko, the average age would be raised again.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
Ever since @Meles started the hype of Next Gen, they fail more and more.

The likes of Thiem and Zverev cannot even beat Bendych and Raonic, leave alone the big 4.
Don't get too excited. Bendy served out of his mind. Thiem did not return his first serve quite as well as hoped, but the bottom line problem for Thiem was Berdbrain rocketing in 74% of his first serves rather than his customary 60%.:mad: Thiem did very well to snag the two sets he did including breaking Berdych late in the 4th despite Bendy firing in 16/17 first serves that set.;) Bendy also blew his top and got creamed 7-1 in the 2nd set breaker.:p

Zverev
. He could have straight setted Raonic and was up a break in the 2nd. He was gassed towards the end of the match. Zed just turned 20 so he's still on track to be #1 by the end of 2018.;) If the doesn't make WTF, get excited TA.:rolleyes:
 

skip1969

G.O.A.T.
I could be dead tomorrow so I don't give a moment's thought to the "future" of tennis. I enjoy what I have when I have it. And don't think about 'what ifs' or 'might have beens.'

Either way, the simple fact is . . . it is not a teenagers' tour anymore. Period. For the time being (and maybe for a long time), those days are over.
 

Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
As to the women's side in the op, if Serena were there in place of Ostapenko, the average age would be raised again.
The average age of the wta top 100 is much younger than the ATP top 100. Serena and Venus are big outliers. Sadly fed is not, there are a lot of 35 year olds in the top 100. I've said this before - there will be several 40 year olds in the top 100 in a few years, maybe even in the top 50. The game is still skewing old, a handful of young players doesn't really change that.
 

Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
I could be dead tomorrow so I don't give a moment's thought to the "future" of tennis. I enjoy what I have when I have it. And don't think about 'what ifs' or 'might have beens.'

Either way, the simple fact is . . . it is not a teenagers' tour anymore. Period. For the time being (and maybe for a long time), those days are over.
Maybe not teenagers, but it too much to ask for 22-23 year olds to go deep in slams consistently? I looked up the ages of some of the late bloomers of the past. guys like courier and rafter would be considered super young champions in today's field.
 

roysid

Hall of Fame
It's an open fight. If oldies are winning, so be it.
One reason they are winning is fitness level and longevity has increased. With more power on racket, it's easier to make a game plan without much running and still win
 

skip1969

G.O.A.T.
Maybe not teenagers, but it too much to ask for 22-23 year olds to go deep in slams consistently? I looked up the ages of some of the late bloomers of the past. guys like courier and rafter would be considered super young champions in today's field.
Well, like you said, the game is skewing older. And last era's "late bloomers" (age-wise) might become the "up-and-comers" of the next era. I just think the way the tour is set up, it's gonna take years (and age) to work your way into the top couple of tiers. That will mean breaking into the Top 20 or Top 10 at the 'advanced' age of 25 or 27 or older. Such a thing would have been an anomaly in previous eras, but I think it will become more of the norm.

Just my thought.
 

BGod

Legend
Money is too good to quit. Tom Brady, inflation adjusted, makes in 1 year what took Montana a decade and so forth.
 

Moose Malloy

G.O.A.T.
Money is too good to quit. Tom Brady, inflation adjusted, makes in 1 year what took Montana a decade and so forth.
Money was pretty darn good in the 90s as well. Problem is their bodies just broke down. I'm sure Chang, Courier, Stich, Krajicek, Rafter, Goran(not to mention all the muller like journeymen) would have loved to be able to play into their 30s.
 

reaper

Legend
The big 4 won't retire while they're a genuine shot at winning. If young players start beating them they'll be the legitimate new stars. The problem in terms of public interest will only really come if guys like Berdytch, Goffin, Raonic, Nishikori, Querrey and co who plainly shouldn't be good enough to win slams start winning them. Then it will be very obvious that the standard is down, and public interest will drop with it.
 
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