With the suspension of the Olympic Games, Wimbledon and the entire grass tour, and who knows if with the suspension of the whole year on the circuit, all the players are going to give could almost lose a year of their career professional. In the case of some and some, the clock speeds up their occasions and we do not know how long tennis life they will be able to offer us according to which tennis players, legends in some cases.
Own Roger Federer He took advantage of the sad news of canceling the entire grass tour to confirm that he would play the Halle tournament in 2021, which leads one to think that the Swiss will be on a tennis court after 40 years, with the intention of lifting great titles, who knows if a Grand Slam. An age at which it seems impossible to shine at the highest level, especially since very few got ‘alive’ up there, and even less those who could win titles or fight for the most prestigious ones.
Longevity is a matter of full force since 2010. Year after year, the top-10 and access to the great titles has been a matter of players who exceeded thirty, and only there, many of them, found their best level, finding the right balance between accumulated experience and physical care to extend your careers. And although there were cases in the past of great longevity, without the support of the advances that today are blessed in professional sports, success in embroidering the 40s was far from normal. Mainly because except for another jump of the race that surprises us, it never was and never will be. They will only be exceptions.
If you have to resort to concrete examples from the past, you should definitely mention an Australian and an American, two great legends of this game who allowed themselves the luxury and the gall to continue playing at a high level, having 40 or even more years, case of Ken Rosewall or Jimmy Connors, the mirrors of a Federer who would seek the impossible in 2021, to win the best that the two of them could not have after completing their 40th birthday.
Of Rosewall it must be said and stressed that it is the most extraordinary example of successful longevity. He was from 1952 to 1977 in the top-20, a real feat, and until 42 years old he was winning titles or stepping on important rounds in Grand Slam, losing his last final, with almost 43 years, precisely, before a very young Jimmy Connors, with whom he would also cross in his last two Grand Slam finals, losing both: Wimbledon and US Open Open in 1974, on the verge of 40.
This is where the parallel is found with the Swiss, who could have the opportunity to become the longest-serving player in history to be a Grand Slam finalist, if he manages to fight for the title at Wimbledon 2021. From beating any ‘major’ to From now on, Federer would also hold the record that precisely belongs to Rosewall himself, as the oldest player to raise a great one, at 37 years and 2 months.
The other great example of maximum longevity, already mentioned recently, was that of Jimmy Connors, although it should be noted that his case was far from Rosewall’s. Connors’ last Grand Slam final was at age 32, in 1984, and his last title dates back to 1989, at 37, but his wonderful 1991 US Open semifinal is remembered when Connors, at 39, played as a wildcard. That ‘major’, after a gradual competitive regression since the year 85, and with two games decided by five rounds through, left a swan song for the memory, on the slopes of Flushing Meadows. Although Federer’s career is much more closely related in success and validity to that of Rosewall, Connors said it is the maxim that a legend can always have his chance at a big one until he retires.
It seems complicated that Federer can be the first man to win a great title close to the age of forty, but that is precisely where the challenge lies and in two examples he can be inspired if health accompanies him.