What is gained with age?

Alcawrath

Semi-Pro
I've read too many threads recently about the age gap between younger players and older ATGs. Far too many posters are criticizing younger players when they lose to, or have tough matches against, Djokovic or Nadal, so I think it makes sense to establish what players gain and lose with age. I think it's fairly obvious that younger players have an edge with explosiveness, power, recovery time, and speed. Not an expert, but it does seem that stamina is up for debate. However, older players have a serious advantage in strategy, experience, and knowledge of the game. I love tennis, but I've been an avid American Football fan since I can remember. Every so many years there will be a great quarterback that, when interviewed about age, speaks about the game 'slowing down' for them. What they mean is that their knowledge and experience enable them to see the field one to two steps ahead of everyone else and give them a strategic advantage that partially negates what they've lost in sheer athletic ability. When you think about the knowledge of the game that Djokovic and Nadal must have compared to some of the 20-year-olds playing, it makes sense that their ability isn't as much a liability as it should be on paper (especially when Djokovic has maintained his health and fitness to the extent he has). In fact, expecting a teenage or 20-year-old to come out and dominate Djokovic or Nadal would imply that their knowledge of the game does not count for much and their success is only based on athletic ability and skills.
 

Alcawrath

Semi-Pro
:-D Judging by the comments I think this thread is a flop. I should have added witty sarcasm to my speculation about what's gained with age.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
:-D Judging by the comments I think this thread is a flop. I should have added witty sarcasm to my speculation about what's gained with age.

You are correct as are the guys responding. Most athletes bemoan how they wish they had the wisdom that they had in later years with the injury free bodies of their younger years.

When you have the rare combination of an older player who is also incredibly fit they will be tough to beat.

However Alcaraz also showed that age is a factor if the younger guy can go toe to toe with the older guy. At that point the older guy’s relative difference in stamina and energy comes into play. All the wisdom cannot make up the extra energy and stamina of a fit young player, even though Djokovic is incredibly fit for his age, when the young one doesn’t blink.
 

taster

Rookie
We have to be specific here about physical performance, while more explosive sports like sprinting might peak in the early twenties, endurance sports like marathon running is a much later peak - late thirties early forties. Tennis - especially five set slams, might be seen as fitting somewhere between an impact sport and an endurance sport. This might well account for the recent longevity of players.
 

taster

Rookie
I've read too many threads recently about the age gap between younger players and older ATGs. Far too many posters are criticizing younger players when they lose to, or have tough matches against, Djokovic or Nadal, so I think it makes sense to establish what players gain and lose with age. I think it's fairly obvious that younger players have an edge with explosiveness, power, recovery time, and speed. Not an expert, but it does seem that stamina is up for debate. However, older players have a serious advantage in strategy, experience, and knowledge of the game. I love tennis, but I've been an avid American Football fan since I can remember. Every so many years there will be a great quarterback that, when interviewed about age, speaks about the game 'slowing down' for them. What they mean is that their knowledge and experience enable them to see the field one to two steps ahead of everyone else and give them a strategic advantage that partially negates what they've lost in sheer athletic ability. When you think about the knowledge of the game that Djokovic and Nadal must have compared to some of the 20-year-olds playing, it makes sense that their ability isn't as much a liability as it should be on paper (especially when Djokovic has maintained his health and fitness to the extent he has). In fact, expecting a teenage or 20-year-old to come out and dominate Djokovic or Nadal would imply that their knowledge of the game does not count for much and their success is only based on athletic ability and skills.
What 'knowledge of the game', are you talking about? at a certain level of abstraction that sounds plausible, but what does it mean exactly? Surely the 'strategies', employed by the big three were the same throughout their respective careers - win the point, game, match etc. Hitting to an opponents weaker side, or deficiencies hardly requires a Mensa level IQ, it's pretty straightforward, and in fact, IQ declines even in ones 20's.
 

DSH

Talk Tennis Guru
Nerves, fear and choking abilities, if not, ask the specialist Roger Federer who has a doctorate in this regard.
:giggle::laughing:
 

daggerman

Hall of Fame
What 'knowledge of the game', are you talking about? at a certain level of abstraction that sounds plausible, but what does it mean exactly? Surely the 'strategies', employed by the big three were the same throughout their respective careers - win the point, game, match etc. Hitting to an opponents weaker side, or deficiencies hardly requires a Mensa level IQ, it's pretty straightforward, and in fact, IQ declines even in ones 20's.

Maybe -- just maybe -- you don't know everything there is to know about tennis strategy at a professional level.

"Yeah, sure, just hit the ball to the other side! What could be so hard?!"
 

taster

Rookie
Maybe -- just maybe -- you don't know everything there is to know about tennis strategy at a professional level.

"Yeah, sure, just hit the ball to the other side! What could be so hard?!"
there's no maybe about it, i don't, nor have i ever claimed to, that's not the issue.
What is the issue, is that If someone is claiming that certain traits, including strategy, become enhanced or developed in a way that gives them an advantage in later years, it's at least incumbent upon them to say what and how that is the case, otherwise it rings hollow. If you can't flesh out what that means, it's pretty much meaningless.
 

WeekendTennisHack

Hall of Fame
It's not so much about what the Big3 know in old age, but rather about how stupid 20 years olds are who didn't go to college. That reflects on their on-court decisions.
 

WeekendTennisHack

Hall of Fame
Could you give examples of those stupid decisions?

1. Going for the wrong shot at the wrong time.
2. Going on emotional roller coasters like being so hyped up for winning a meaningless point and then crashing on the next, that's not good for your mentality. Better to stay relatively even keeled for most points.
3. Not preparing properly for cramping, lol
4. Giving up when they should still be fighting, see Djokovic for the opposite.
 
What 'knowledge of the game', are you talking about? at a certain level of abstraction that sounds plausible, but what does it mean exactly? Surely the 'strategies', employed by the big three were the same throughout their respective careers - win the point, game, match etc. Hitting to an opponents weaker side, or deficiencies hardly requires a Mensa level IQ, it's pretty straightforward, and in fact, IQ declines even in ones 20's.
All the tennis greats have written/spoken about the tennis wisdom gained with age.
 

Alcawrath

Semi-Pro
there's no maybe about it, i don't, nor have i ever claimed to, that's not the issue.
What is the issue, is that If someone is claiming that certain traits, including strategy, become enhanced or developed in a way that gives them an advantage in later years, it's at least incumbent upon them to say what and how that is the case, otherwise it rings hollow. If you can't flesh out what that means, it's pretty much meaningless.
Fair point. Watch some replays of college D1 national championship matches. If winning in pro tennis was all about consistency and ball bashing at high speeds, these D1 national contenders would instantly be successful on the pro circuit. The problem is that it's not. It's about matching high-level skills and consistency with in-game knowledge and strategy. The knowledge I'm talking about is 1) Reading your opponents quickly to determine their weaknesses and what parts of the court they are leaving open or uncovered. 2) Understanding high-level point-creation strategies that work. 3) Understanding the tendencies of players reacting to your shots and how to anticipate their shots to be in the correct position. If you want proof, watch some match replays from Fed, Djok, or Nadal and tell me, are they often scrambling when playing younger players because they find themselves out of position? How about the younger guys they're facing? It seems like the younger guys are scrambling much much more just to get to balls because the older wiser players know where to be and when situationally due to match experience and knowledge. I 100% agree with you that it's not rocket science, but I think there is strategy and knowledge that is not plainly visible to anyone sitting on a couch watching, and it is not something that an 18 or 20-year-old can just 'get' right away.
 

tex123

Hall of Fame
I've read too many threads recently about the age gap between younger players and older ATGs. Far too many posters are criticizing younger players when they lose to, or have tough matches against, Djokovic or Nadal, so I think it makes sense to establish what players gain and lose with age. I think it's fairly obvious that younger players have an edge with explosiveness, power, recovery time, and speed. Not an expert, but it does seem that stamina is up for debate. However, older players have a serious advantage in strategy, experience, and knowledge of the game. I love tennis, but I've been an avid American Football fan since I can remember. Every so many years there will be a great quarterback that, when interviewed about age, speaks about the game 'slowing down' for them. What they mean is that their knowledge and experience enable them to see the field one to two steps ahead of everyone else and give them a strategic advantage that partially negates what they've lost in sheer athletic ability. When you think about the knowledge of the game that Djokovic and Nadal must have compared to some of the 20-year-olds playing, it makes sense that their ability isn't as much a liability as it should be on paper (especially when Djokovic has maintained his health and fitness to the extent he has). In fact, expecting a teenage or 20-year-old to come out and dominate Djokovic or Nadal would imply that their knowledge of the game does not count for much and their success is only based on athletic ability and skills.
TL;DR.

I'm wondering why old posters are making up new usernames to post content. What's wrong with old usernames?
 

ibbi

G.O.A.T.
Mentally, obviously, whether we're talking about emotions, nerves, strategy, you're likely to better when you're older as you've gained all the experience. The tradeoff had to be that in order to get there you had to journey down a long road that was going to significantly impact your physical abilities and make it largely impossible to take advantage of all you had gained between the ears.

The shift there in terms of people looking after themselves better so lasting longer and now being better able to take advantage of what they've gained mentally has only really started to be a wider spread thing in the last decade, so you could say it is still a relatively new way of thinking, and people shouldn't be too looked down on for not having gotten to grips with it yet:D
 

taster

Rookie
All the tennis greats have written/spoken about the tennis wisdom gained with age.
But wisdom is an amorphous concept, I'm sure we would all like to think we are wiser as we get older - tennis players are no exception. But that isn't a strategy, and it isn't a concrete sense applicable to playing tennis, if it was, surely there would be upward linier trajectories with players having inexorable cognitive growth. What you actually have is players having careers of different shapes and sizes, which aren't characterised by relentless progress - injuries notwithstanding.
That's not to say stuff isn't learnt - I guess in a very subtle sense, most players are constantly learning - tweaking this or that, but that's different and doesn't exclude learning bad habits and mental baggage.
 

Mike Sams

G.O.A.T.
Zero f*cks. That's what's gained.
They cared more about winning and trying to compete for big titles when they were young.
With age, they just show up, go home after the first or second round, collect their check, and post their family/wife/girlfriend travel pics on Instagram.
Any hunger or desire for the game is gone as they're incapable of winning or competing. Monfils, Cilic, Tsonga, Gasquet, Dimitrov, Raonic, etc.
 

Mike Sams

G.O.A.T.
Seems like people are now enamoured with the topic of age after last week's Wimbledon final.
No mention of age when Djokovic was tearing everyone apart before then. :-D
 

taster

Rookie
Mentally, obviously, whether we're talking about emotions, nerves, strategy, you're likely to better when you're older as you've gained all the experience. The tradeoff had to be that in order to get there you had to journey down a long road that was going to significantly impact your physical abilities and make it largely impossible to take advantage of all you had gained between the ears.

The shift there in terms of people looking after themselves better so lasting longer and now being better able to take advantage of what they've gained mentally has only really started to be a wider spread thing in the last decade, so you could say it is still a relatively new way of thinking, and people shouldn't be too looked down on for not having gotten to grips with it yet:D
Do you think we get mentally stronger as we get older - less prone to nerves? I'd argue the opposite.
Males between 15 and 35 have a greater proclivity for risk taking, which is part of the reason they're more likely to be involved in accidents - statistically. Part of that is a growing awareness of certain safety issues, but it's also to do with our biology, things like the decline of testosterone as we age.
There are strategies for dealing with these issues, but that applies at any time of life.
 

TheNachoMan

Legend
But isn't the logic of some of this discussion that age should be in his favour? His accrued 'wisdom' should have given him the edge, but it didn't.
He had the experience advantage for sure. And we saw that in the first set. Carlos was spooked by the occasion, Novak wasn’t.
 

ibbi

G.O.A.T.
Do you think we get mentally stronger as we get older - less prone to nerves? I'd argue the opposite.
Males between 15 and 35 have a greater proclivity for risk taking, which is part of the reason they're more likely to be involved in accidents - statistically. Part of that is a growing awareness of certain safety issues, but it's also to do with our biology, things like the decline of testosterone as we age.
There are strategies for dealing with these issues, but that applies at any time of life.
I don't think it's the same for everyone, but I think there are various branches on the tree of mental toughness, and risk-taking is a pretty small one. That can be classed as recklessness as much as anything else.

There is something to the eternal sunshine of the spotless mind thing, the unencumbered freedom of youth not weighed down by years of baggage, but it has its downsides too, as we've seen so many times.
 

Alcawrath

Semi-Pro
But isn't the logic of some of this discussion that age should be in his favour? His accrued 'wisdom' should have given him the edge, but it didn't.
Not quite, just that age and youth both have pros and cons and it's not so black and white as some have asserted on these boards.
 

Nostradamus

Bionic Poster
I've read too many threads recently about the age gap between younger players and older ATGs. Far too many posters are criticizing younger players when they lose to, or have tough matches against, Djokovic or Nadal, so I think it makes sense to establish what players gain and lose with age. I think it's fairly obvious that younger players have an edge with explosiveness, power, recovery time, and speed. Not an expert, but it does seem that stamina is up for debate. However, older players have a serious advantage in strategy, experience, and knowledge of the game. I love tennis, but I've been an avid American Football fan since I can remember. Every so many years there will be a great quarterback that, when interviewed about age, speaks about the game 'slowing down' for them. What they mean is that their knowledge and experience enable them to see the field one to two steps ahead of everyone else and give them a strategic advantage that partially negates what they've lost in sheer athletic ability. When you think about the knowledge of the game that Djokovic and Nadal must have compared to some of the 20-year-olds playing, it makes sense that their ability isn't as much a liability as it should be on paper (especially when Djokovic has maintained his health and fitness to the extent he has). In fact, expecting a teenage or 20-year-old to come out and dominate Djokovic or Nadal would imply that their knowledge of the game does not count for much and their success is only based on athletic ability and skills.
Serve consistency and placement with same power as whey you were young. This can be very much obtained if you just put some time in to clean up the mechanics and practice the serve for about 20 minutes to 30 minutes every time you go out to play,,, can do this before the match if it is matchday,,,, or if its drill day, you can do this after the drill.
 
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