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Surrey.Tennis 2017/2018

A review of all the activities in Surrey Tennis in 2017/2018 Published by Surrey.Tennis

competition the veteran

competition the veteran pros way longer than that, however, and was a ripe old but nifty 50 when, playing alongside Bob Bryan, she secured the US Open mixed doubles in 2006. The most 24-karat golden oldie of all, however, is Ken Rosewall. Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, this Aussie won Roland Garros aged 33, the US Open at 35, and the Australian Open at 36 and 37, an age when many other professional players are putting their feet up, and resting their knackered bodies. In 1974, aged 39, he managed to reach the finals of both the Wimbledon and the US Open singles. An amazing feat and surely an inspiration for Federer. “No other tennis athlete in the history of the game since it became a major sport around the First World War had ever reached the finals at such an advanced age,” wrote Peter Rowley in Ken Rosewall: Twenty Years At the Top. “By widening the horizons of human endeavour Rosewall had encouraged millions of middle-aged tennis players.” But top-level success at such an age is exceptional. The fact is, the vast majority of Grand Slams are won by 20-somethings. Among male players, it’s the mid-20s in fact that are the most lucrative years. All of which makes Federer’s current achievements nothing short of super-human. The legendary coach Brad Gilbert (former adviser to the likes of Agassi, Roddick and Murray) believes Federer’s tennis is better now than ever before. “I’ve been watching Roger since 1998 and, in my humble opinion, he is playing better tennis than at any point in his career,” he says. “He’s been forced to get better and he’s had to raise his backhand and return of serve. He’s playing more complete tennis. Roger’s breaking serve five per cent more while still holding 90 per cent of the time. And he’s converting Martina Navratilova was 50 when she claimed a Grand Slam in the mixed doubles at the US Open in 2006 50 per cent of break points.” Roger’s contemporaries are stretching their careers too. Consider this interesting statistic: back in 1991, the average age of players in the ATP top 10 was 23.2 years. For the WTA top 10 it was 21.7 years. In 2001 it rose to 24.5 years for the men and 22.0 years for the women. Fast forward to the present day and, right now, it’s over 27 years for the men, and nearly 26 years for the women. Simply put, this means the world’s top players are older now than they’ve ever been. So what are the reasons for this golden age of the golden oldies? Match experience must be a major factor. While younger players no doubt cover the court more quickly and more efficiently, older players are often more 22 surrey tennis magazine

The most 24-karat golden oldie of all is Ken Rosewall. This Aussie won Roland Garros aged 33, the US Open at 35, and the Australian Open at 36 and 37. Aged 39, he managed to reach the finals of both the Wimbledon and the US Open singles. surrey tennis magazine 23