What is the best performance by a player aged 17, 18, 19... up to 37, on each surface? Making a comprehensive list

jl809

Hall of Fame
For a future safeguard against overhyping the latest mug, let's make a benchmark of what it is actually possible for 17 year olds, 25 year olds, 35 year olds to do in tennis.
Think Alcaraz's level is the highest ever from a 19 year old on HC? Think Fed's peak on grass is the highest ever? Now you can check against the very best...

Premise is simple, it can be Bo5 or Bo3, on hard court (indoor or outdoor counts, although could split), grass court or clay court. I just want the best single performance by a player aged a certain age, on a given surface.


Here is my initial example of suggestions. Red and bold = ones I just put in as placeholders because I'm not sure.

I am almost certainly wrong about most of these so please suggest better ones where appropriate!


  • 17 years old:
    • hard - Becker vs Wilander (1985)
    • clay - Chang vs Edberg (1989)
    • grass - Becker vs Nystrom (1985)
  • 18 years old:
    • hard - Chang - Sampras (Canada 90)
    • clay: Nadal vs Coria (Rome 2005)
    • grass - Becker vs Lendl (1986)
  • 19 years old:
    • hard - Sampras vs McEnroe (1990) or vs Lendl (1990)
    • clay: Nadal - Federer (Rome 2006)
    • grass - Federer vs Sampras (2001) - lots of good options on grass here, including Wilander and Edberg in the 80s
  • 20 years old:
    • hard - McEnroe-Gerulaitis (1979)
    • clay: Nadal - Federer (Monte Carlo 2007)
    • grass - Nadal vs Federer (2006)???????? I must be missing a good one here
  • 21 years old:
    • hard - McEnroe-Borg (1980)
    • clay: Nadal vs Federer (RG 2007)
    • grass: Federer vs Roddick (2003)
  • 22 years old:
    • hard - Federer-Agassi (TMC 2003)
    • clay: Nadal vs Federer (RG 2008)
    • grass: Nadal vs Federer (2008) or Federer vs Roddick (2004) or Edberg vs Becker (1988)
  • 23 years old:
    • hard - Federer vs Hewitt (USO 2004)
    • clay: Borg - Gerulaitis (RG 1980)
    • grass: Sampras vs Becker (1995)
  • 24 years old:
    • hard - Agassi vs Sampras (AO 1995) or Wilander-Cash (AO 1988)
    • clay - Nadal vs Soderling (2010)
    • grass: Federer vs Nadal (2006)
  • 25 years old:
    • hard - Djokovic - Ferrer (AO 2013)
    • clay - Nadal vs Monaco (2012)
    • grass: Federer-Nadal (2007)
  • 26 years old:
    • hard - Djokovic - Del Potro (Shanghai 2013)
    • clay: - Nadal vs Ferrer (RG 2012)
    • grass - Sampras vs Ivanisevic (1998)
  • 27 years old:
    • hard - Djokovic - Berdych (2014)???
    • clay: Nadal-Djokovic (RG 2013)
    • grass: Sampras - Agassi (1999)
  • 28 years old:
    • hard: Djokovic - Nadal (Doha 2016)
    • clay: Nadal - Djokovic (RG 2014)
    • grass: Djokovic - Federer (2014) or Sampras - Rafter (2000)
  • 29 years old:
    • hard: Federer - Nadal (2010)
    • clay: Federer - Djokovic (RG 2011)
    • grass: Djokovic - Federer (2015)
  • 30 years old:
    • hard court: Federer - Nadal (ATPF 2011)
    • clay: Nadal - Basilashvili (2017)
    • grass: Federer - Djokovic (2012)
  • 31 years old:
    • hard: Djokovic - Nadal (2019)
    • clay: Nadal - Wawrinka (2017)
    • grass: Djokovic vs Nadal (2018)
  • 32 years old:
    • hard: Djokovic - Nadal (2020)
    • clay: Nadal - Thiem (RG 2018)
    • grass: Federer - Djokovic (2014)
  • 33 years old:
    • hard: Federer-Djokovic (Shanghai 2014) or Agassi-Safin (2004)
    • clay: Nadal - Thiem (RG 2019)
    • grass: Federer - Murray (2015)
  • 34 years old:
    • hard: Federer - Wawrinka (US Open 2015)
    • clay: Nadal - Djokovic (2020)
    • grass: Djokovic - Berrettini (2021)
  • 35 years old:
    • hard: Agassi - Federer (US Open 2005) - Federer - Nadal (IW 2017) is in with a shout here too
    • clay: Nadal - Djokovic (2022)
    • grass: Federer - Raonic (2017)
  • 36 years old:
    • hard: Federer-Nadal (Shanghai 2017)
    • clay: Nadal-Ruud (2022)
    • grass: Federer - Raonic (2018)
  • 37 years old:
    • hard: Federer - Medvedev (2019)
    • clay: Federer-Wawrinka (2019)
    • grass: Federer - Nadal (2019)
Apologies if I get ages wrong as well, it gets confusing after I look at it for too long
 
Last edited:

jl809

Hall of Fame
For 37 I’d probably go with one of Fed’s IW and Miami matches in 2019. He had a good sunshine double. The Paris match was close but not necessarily of high quality.
Good call. Maybe Fed-Meddy from Miami, Fed was 17-8 for winners/UEs + had a lot of fun on court
 

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
Good call. Maybe Fed-Meddy from Miami, Fed was 17-8 for winners/UEs + had a lot of fun on court
Of course, everyone in that draw sucked so it’s hard to tell how well Fed actually played, but the Med match was pretty good I guess.
 

Djokodalerer31

Hall of Fame
Djokovic - Nadal 2019 AO would be better option for 31 years old than Djokovic - Nadal 2018 Wimbledon...Also Djokovic's level in that Wimbledon final against Berettini was very very poor, worse than against Kyrgios last year!...
 
H

Herald

Guest
For 19:
PETE v Lendl USO
Fed Wimbers 2001 - summoning some of his best ever tennis to beat a Sampras a shadow of himself on new grass is no mean feat. The returns, the volleys and believe it or not, performance under pressure were at times mind boggling. Prodigious performance.
Clay - Nadal/Fed Rome.
 

Kralingen

Bionic Poster
Some additions off the top of my head:

20 yrs old - grass - Borg 1976 (straight set Wimby winner)
18 yrs old - hard - Agassi 88- made SF and took first set off Lendl at USO 88
28 yrs old - grass - Sampras 2000
29 yrs old - clay - Djokovic RG 2016
20 yrs old - hard - Safin 2000 USO, or Djokovic 2008 AO
32 yrs old - hard - Agassi 03 AO
33 yrs old - hard - Agassi 04 AO

Oh and every 30 yr old selection should go to Laver for his CYGS 1969
 
Last edited:
H

Herald

Guest
23 - grass - Pete v Boris '95 Wimbledon finals. Should arguably be the best grass performance here period if not for...
27 - grass - Pete v Agassi '99 Wimbledon finals. There's this false truism going around that this match is overrated - stop. This is one of the most genius performances on grass ever seen and it happening in a final is what makes it unforgettable.
 

The Blond Blur

G.O.A.T.
7b9upu.jpg


Kudos OP(y)
 

RS

Bionic Poster
What about best slam winners and runner ups in these years?
 
Last edited:

jl809

Hall of Fame
23 - grass - Pete v Boris '95 Wimbledon finals. Should arguably be the best grass performance here period if not for...
27 - grass - Pete v Agassi '99 Wimbledon finals. There's this false truism going around that this match is overrated - stop. This is one of the most genius performances on grass ever seen and it happening in a final is what makes it unforgettable.
These are easily the best fast court performances on this whole list, for sure. I am in awe of his consistency in 95
 

jl809

Hall of Fame
Djokovic - Nadal 2019 AO would be better option for 31 years old than Djokovic - Nadal 2018 Wimbledon...Also Djokovic's level in that Wimbledon final against Berettini was very very poor, worse than against Kyrgios last year!...
True…

Have we got another candidate for 34 yo on grass? I don’t think we do… Fed kinda sucked in 2016 with the back problem
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
Also 17 on clay goes to Borg too, he turned 18 during the French Open but still won a few big titles on clay before that
 

metsman

G.O.A.T.
You consider it much better than 2008 F which you consider powderpuff in comparsion right?
2009 Fed and 2008 Fed basically on the same tier, but 2009 better by a small but clear margin in every single department.
 
For a future safeguard against overhyping the latest mug, let's make a benchmark of what it is actually possible for 17 year olds, 25 year olds, 35 year olds to do in tennis.
Think Alcaraz's level is the highest ever from a 19 year old on HC? Think Fed's peak on grass is the highest ever? Now you can check against the very best...

Premise is simple, it can be Bo5 or Bo3, on hard court (indoor or outdoor counts, although could split), grass court or clay court. I just want the best single performance by a player aged a certain age, on a given surface.


Here is my initial example of suggestions. Red and bold = ones I just put in as placeholders because I'm not sure.

I am almost certainly wrong about most of these so please suggest better ones where appropriate!


  • 17 years old:
    • hard - Becker vs Wilander (1985)
    • clay - Chang vs Edberg (1989)
    • grass - Becker vs Nystrom (1985)
  • 18 years old:
    • hard - Chang - Sampras (Canada 90)
    • clay: Nadal vs Coria (Rome 2005)
    • grass - Becker vs Lendl (1986)
  • 19 years old:
    • hard - Sampras vs McEnroe (1990) or vs Lendl (1990)
    • clay: Nadal - Federer (Rome 2006)
    • grass - Federer vs Sampras (2001) - lots of good options on grass here, including Wilander and Edberg in the 80s
  • 20 years old:
    • hard - McEnroe-Gerulaitis (1979)
    • clay: Nadal - Federer (Monte Carlo 2007)
    • grass - Nadal vs Federer (2006)???????? I must be missing a good one here
  • 21 years old:
    • hard - McEnroe-Borg (1980)
    • clay: Nadal vs Federer (RG 2007)
    • grass: Federer vs Roddick (2003)
  • 22 years old:
    • hard - Federer-Agassi (TMC 2003)
    • clay: Nadal vs Federer (RG 2008)
    • grass: Nadal vs Federer (2008) or Federer vs Roddick (2004) or Edberg vs Becker (1988)
  • 23 years old:
    • hard - Federer vs Hewitt (USO 2004)
    • clay: Borg - Gerulaitis (RG 1980)
    • grass: Sampras vs Becker (1995)
  • 24 years old:
    • hard - Agassi vs Sampras (AO 1995) or Wilander-Cash (AO 1988)
    • clay - Nadal vs Soderling (2010)
    • grass: Federer vs Nadal (2006)
  • 25 years old:
    • hard - Djokovic - Ferrer (AO 2013)
    • clay - Nadal vs Monaco (2012)
    • grass: Federer-Nadal (2007)
  • 26 years old:
    • hard - Djokovic - Del Potro (Shanghai 2013)
    • clay: - Nadal vs Ferrer (RG 2012)
    • grass - Sampras vs Ivanisevic (1998)
  • 27 years old:
    • hard - Djokovic - Berdych (2014)???
    • clay: Nadal-Djokovic (RG 2013)
    • grass: Sampras - Agassi (1999)
  • 28 years old:
    • hard: Djokovic - Nadal (Doha 2016)
    • clay: Nadal - Djokovic (RG 2014)
    • grass: Djokovic - Federer (2014) or Sampras - Rafter (2000)
  • 29 years old:
    • hard: Federer - Nadal (2010)
    • clay: Federer - Djokovic (RG 2011)
    • grass: Djokovic - Federer (2015)
  • 30 years old:
    • hard court: Federer - Nadal (ATPF 2011)
    • clay: Nadal - Basilashvili (2017)
    • grass: Federer - Djokovic (2012)
  • 31 years old:
    • hard: Djokovic - Nadal (2019)
    • clay: Nadal - Wawrinka (2017)
    • grass: Djokovic vs Nadal (2018)
  • 32 years old:
    • hard: Djokovic - Nadal (2020)
    • clay: Nadal - Thiem (RG 2018)
    • grass: Federer - Djokovic (2014)
  • 33 years old:
    • hard: Federer-Djokovic (Shanghai 2014) or Agassi-Safin (2004)
    • clay: Nadal - Thiem (RG 2019)
    • grass: Federer - Murray (2015)
  • 34 years old:
    • hard: Federer - Wawrinka (US Open 2015)
    • clay: Nadal - Djokovic (2020)
    • grass: Djokovic - Berrettini (2021)
  • 35 years old:
    • hard: Agassi - Federer (US Open 2005) - Federer - Nadal (IW 2017) is in with a shout here too
    • clay: Nadal - Djokovic (2022)
    • grass: Federer - Raonic (2017)
  • 36 years old:
    • hard: Federer-Nadal (Shanghai 2017)
    • clay: Nadal-Ruud (2022)
    • grass: Federer - Raonic (2018)
  • 37 years old:
    • hard: Federer - Medvedev (2019)
    • clay: Federer-Wawrinka (2019)
    • grass: Federer - Nadal (2019)
Apologies if I get ages wrong as well, it gets confusing after I look at it for too long
That's a very presentist list. No 1984 Mac performances from the greatest year any men's professional has ever had? No 19 year old Wilander at RG in 1982? Not a single Connors match? No Rosewall in the 30s category? No Laver in the 30s category? I know it took a little while to put together, but the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s deserve much more recognition. As is, it really just looks like a Big 3 fan post...
 
Last edited:

Mustard

Bionic Poster
Fed and Nadal involved in about 30 matches here..

Djokovic 18...

What it tells us?
Connors had plenty. What about, at age 34, the Pernfors match at 1987 Wimbledon? Trailed 1-6, 1-6, 1-4 and 1-6, 1-6, 7-5, 0-3, before winning 1-6, 1-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-2.

His legendary 1991 US Open run had several such matches at age 38-39.
 

DariaGT

Professional
best effort ever on all surfaces was teen Becker without a doubt.
No one could do what he did at that age on grass.

Grass is the most demanding surface in which the player needs to be a complete player in every department,
not just feisty hacker like on clay or concrete like Chang and Hewitt could do in junior level rodent mode.

Providing Nadal is healthy, he could out hack and reverse the tables on any aggressor on clay.

You cant do that on grass without at least a monster serve and that these days does not guarantee anything
considering the balls and conditions are slower using full rye grass.
 

Third Serve

Talk Tennis Guru
I’d say Agassi’s level was higher in 2005 vs Blake than it was against Federer.
It was. Agassi played well for two and a half (I guess we could round up to three) sets vs. Fed but he didn’t have the stamina to keep going. That stamina was not yet depleted during the Blake match.
 
Top