February 25, 2017
Ok, so they aren't THAT old but in terms of tennis, they definitely are pushing it. This seems to be the rule rather than the exception when it comes to the top players in both sexes. There is only one player under the age of 26 (Dominic Thiem age 23) in the top 10 rankings for men and half of them are 29 or older! For the women, there is a similar story with 6 of the top 10 women are 26 or older. This is particularly amazing as women tradionaly mature faster than men so you see women in there teens peaking in their abilities (such as Monica Seles and Martina Hingis at 16 years old when they won their first title).
Let's put it his way: The average age for the men in the top 10 in 1992 was 23.2 years while in 2015 it was 28.6 years. The average for the top 10 females in 1992 was 21.7 years but has shifted to 25.9 years as the average!
So what gives?
There are a lot of variables going on here. For example, racquet technology allows less strain for players to produce ample power and spin on the ball. This doesn't help explain the paradox of what is happening to the game due to that same technology. Racquets allow so much power and spin that it's very hard to come to the net to finish off points quickly, making tennis matches played mainly at the baseline. This makes the game more physical and harder on the body as points last much longer.
I would argue that players are putting more time off the court to enhance their tennis abilities seen on the court. There is a greater emphasis on treating their bodies with the out most respect as they understand that the better they feel and move, the better they will play. Players have been using the latest information on human performance to ensure they can play their best tennis possible.
This is something I can attest to. I haven't had much opportunity to play but I make sure my body is strong and mobile to be ready for any time I can get on the court. I highly recommend you start or continue taking your off court preparations seriously. I bet you will see a better performance in your game by doing this. With that, here is a video to get you started!