Top 10 Male Tennis Players over 30 Of All Time

Male Tennis Players over 30

Are you curious about which male tennis players have been able to maintain a high level of performance even after the age of 30?

In the past, it was considered difficult, but with advancements in recovery techniques and food science, it’s become more common.

Join me as I explore the top 10 male tennis players over 30 years old and discover how they’ve been able to achieve such greatness.

10 Best Male Tennis Players Over 30

Below you can find the best 10 tennis players who are still competitive even over 30 years old.

1. Pete Sampras

The American star was a joy to watch around the late 90’s- early 2000’s when he played some epic matches against Chang, Courier, Kafelnikov, Agassi, Enqvist, Rafter.

Pete Sampras was able to conquer some great victories in Wimbledon (he won 7 of them and was beaten just recently by Federer) then the US Open, Roland Garros, and Australian Open for a total of 64 top-level titles, 3rd ever for longest weeks at number 1 ATP in the world, only behind Djokovic and Federer.

During the last year of his career Pete Sampras, in 2002 aged 31 years old went to the final of the US Open after beating Greg Rusedski in the first round with the Czech with the latest mentioning’ Pete is one and a step and a half slower’’.

The American champion however managed to beat the next opponents and reach the final where Andre Agassi was waiting for him, 12 years later their first encounter. Pete went eventually to win the US Open, the third in a row and the all-time eight, matching Ivan Lendl’s record.

On the day of his retirement, he was declared by most of the press and his colleagues the best tennis ever been playing till that time.

2. Roger Federer

The story of the Swiss-born tennis superstar is known but all of us living in this century as Roger started to win right after Pete Sampras retire.

In July 2001 the Swiss then-teenager beat Sampras in 3 hours and 41 minutes in Wimbledon, the stage he loved the most during his career.

Roger Federer is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. The Swiss tennis star has won a record 20 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any male player in history until recently surpassed by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Federer’s Grand Slam titles include 8 Wimbledon, 6 Australian Open, 5 US Open, and 1 French Open titles. He has also been a runner-up in Grand Slam finals on 10 occasions.

Federer’s ability to play with both power and finesse, coupled with his exceptional footwork and shot-making skills, have made him a dominant force in the sport. His numerous achievements have earned him a place among the greatest athletes of all time.

3. Björn Borg

Björn Borg, the Swedish tennis champion, held the world number 1 ranking for seven years between 1974 and 1981, and is still widely recognized as one of the best players of all time. He turned professional in 1972 and won two matches in the Davis Cup, quickly reaching the top level and winning 11 Grand Slam titles, placing him sixth in the all-time standings.

Borg’s rivalry with John McEnroe was the highlight of tennis in the 70s, with the two players facing each other 14 times and holding a record of 7-7. They played an epic final in 1980 that was later repeated in a recent movie, followed by three consecutive Grand Slams that saw McEnroe come out on top.

Despite being at the top of his game, Borg made the decision to retire in 1983 at the age of 27, which shocked many tennis fans. However, he chose to take a break from tennis and relax, staying out of the sport until he attempted a comeback at the age of 35 in 1991.

Although he was mentally ready and capable of playing tennis, Borg was unable to keep up with the younger generation of players who had put in more work in the gym and behind the scenes. Many wonder what could have been if Borg had continued playing, but he remains an excellent example of how it is possible to play at a high level after the age of 30.

4. Lleyton Hewitt

The Australian-born legend is still nowadays a semi-retired player at the age of 40. He was the youngest player to be number 1 in the world at 20 years old, 8 months, and 26 days and won 30 singles titles and 3 doubles.

During his career, which peaked very early he won 1 Wimbledon and 2 Us Open in 2000 and 2001 when he was at his best, at 20 years old.

Hewitt was somehow the connection between the Agassi and Sampras era and the new coming Big Three, Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal starting to win the tournaments right after him in the mid-2000s.

He is still playing somehow double tournaments at 40 years old and only retired from singular events in 2016 at 34 years of age after his last attempt at the Australian Open.

5. Mats Wilander

The second Swedish in this special list is Mats Wilander, who won 7 Grand Slam titles between 1982 and 1988. The breakthrough of this talented player came unexpectedly in 1982 at the Roland Garros or French Open as they still called it at the time.

Wilander is one of the few tennis players being able to win on all surfaces (the Australian Open was still played on grass at the time then he won the US Open on hard court, Roland Garros). He’s also the youngest player of all time to reach 4 Grand Slams by the age of 20, an amazing achievement.

In 1996 Wilander played at the age of 32 the whole season managing to reach the second round of the French Open. He retired after losing his last match against Damm in Beijing.

6. Rafael Nadal

The Spanish champion is worth mentioning, won his first title at 18 at the French Open astonishing most of the crowd there. Since then he went on to win 14 Roland Garros, the highest number of specific tournaments in the entire history, and other 8 Slams, reaching 22 Grand Slam titles (as of July 2022).

He’s also sharing the record of winning twice at least on all surfaces together with Mats Wilander, a very important result meaning the player can adapt on all surfaces.

Nadal is a great example of how you can peak also above 30 with endurance and hard work. Nadal’s best-fought battles are with other players on this list, mostly with Federer which we mentioned he shares the lead in the tournaments won, and the Serbian, Novak Djokovic who is also above 30 years old and still number 1 in the world.

7. Novak Djokovic

As we’ve mentioned above Novak Djokovic, one of the greatest champions of all time played some exquisite matches against Rafael Nadal. He’s only one year younger than the Spanish counterpart but he’s on track to reach and overcome the record of Nadal and Federer, been himself at 18 Grand Slams at this moment.

His style of being a returning player, able to return anything being throw on the other side of the court is changing the game of tennis.

For some people, Djokovic is still called the ‘rubber’ for his ability to always find a way to return even strong shots being hit by the opponents. It’s worth mentioning his final for the Australian Open in 2012 against Nadal, won after a long-fought lasted for near six-hour, making it still nowadays the longest final of a Grand Slam ever been played.

At over 30 he’s still number one and this is an example of how the recent techniques of recovery, physio, and improvements in the lifestyle of the players can keep the level of professional tennis players high in time.

8. Tommy Haas

The German star reached his peak with the number 2 in the ATP standing in 2002. His career however was fully marked by his injuries as he had to miss the whole twelve months of tournaments twice along with his career but he managed still to be a professional player between 1996 till 2017.

His long career where he won also 15 career titles and he’s the silver medallist of the Olympic Games of Sydney 2000.

The aggressive style of playing and the ability to play tennis till 39 years old still in the early 2000’s make him one of the best players to have ever played above 30.

9. Boris Becker

Boris Becker is a former number one in the ATP and a tennis superstar from Germany. He won his first tournament at the young age of 17. He won 6 Grand Slams, 3 Wimbledon, 2 US Open, and one Australian Open. Becker also won a gold medal for the doubles tournament at the Olympic Games of Barcelona in 1992.

Becker was one of the first players in the beginning of the 1990s to adopt the mixing technique of playing behind the service line, rarely using the previously long-used technique of serve and volley. This new way of playing was necessary because tennis players were becoming more powerful in their services and hit with the forehead. Many players had to adapt to this new style of play during the years of change.

Despite his age, Becker continued his career till 1999 when he retired at the age of 32 years old. At 190cm tall, he was one of the tallest and most powerful players in the circuit.

10. Andre Agassi

The American legend, Agassi, made his debut in the ATP circuit at the age of 16 in California and was a former world number 1. He won eight Grand Slam and was a Gold medal winner. However, his early career was full of nearly miss chances.

He reached the semi-finals of the French Open and Us Open in 1988, aged 18, and was labeled the future star of tennis. Following in 1990 he reached the Grand Slam final where he lost in 4 sets against Andrès Gomez, saying in his book he lost because during the whole match he was worried about his ‘’wig falling off ‘’ rather than focusing on playing.

Agassi managed to reach the final of the French Open again the following year, losing to Jim Courier in 5 sets this time. His first Slam, however, didn’t arrive from the French Open or the US Open but with Wimbledon where he won the final against Goran Ivanisevic in 5 sets, making his step in the history of tennis.

In the upcoming years, Agassi was very successful on all surfaces and created a great rivalry with Pete Sampras, the other American number 1. After their first encounter, Agassi labeled Sampras as someone who will never be a pro. Sampras, as we know now, became even more successful than Agassi who was found guilty of skipping a drug test and didn’t play for some years.

Agassi managed to win in Cincinnati at 34 and went to end his career at 36 in 2006.

HOW TO PERFORM WELL AFTER 30 YEARS OLD

With the technologies improving, the performance of the athletes, and the physiotherapy science making great steps for reducing the injury time frame it’s possible to be well physically above 30 years old. If you take care of your body, follow the advice on the training, and don’t overdo, the performances can still be on a very high level.

Many doctors agree on the following statement regarding our bodies, ‘’as you get old you lose muscle, reaction time, and aerobic condition’’.

To stay healthy in and off the court, you have then, to follow some basic rules:

Always warm-up before the training/match

With the age playing a big role as we’ve seen before the warm-up is a must-do condition. Elevate your heart rate with a walk, little exercises, and jog before playing as this reduce the chance to get an injury.

Always stretch

Take 5 minutes after the warm-up to do some stretching, a dynamic one. The connective tissues lose some of their elasticity with age so it’s important to work on their flexibility. Do some toe and heel walk in the court, arm circles, wrist circles, trunk rotations, and high knees. After taking your racquet do some stretch with your racquet, side to side and above your head, and down towards your toe.

Mind your muscles

Starting at the age of 45 the doctors say our body muscle decline by 1% per year. If you don’t do strengthening and stretch you could lose up to 70% of your tissue by 75 years old. The good part is that if you work a little harder than before you can still play tennis up to 70 years old without any issues.

Balance your body

While when you are young you can take for granted the balance of your body with the age picking up you need to do some drills every week for maintaining a good balance. Take some minutes and train your legs during the week, your body will be stronger for the matches and the risk of injury will be much lower.

CAN YOU PERFORM WELL AFTER 30?

The answer, even after reading all these great tennis players is definitely YES. 

However, as we know from science the muscle with the age tend to lose their flexibility so if you want to keep playing (not necessarily on a PRO level) you have to take care of your body. A good stretch and warm-up is just the way to follow before any match while during the week you should make your muscle stronger with specific exercises to tone up and make your body ready for the match. 

If you follow these simple but important rules you’ll be able to continue to play even up to 70 years old and enjoy the fantastic game of tennis.

Now it is your turn, who is your best male tennis players over 30 years old?

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