ATP Tour: Getting Better With Age
The future superstars of men's tennis are beginning to assert themselves on the international tennis stage. In the Australian Open earlier in the year, two men in their early twenties Hyeon Chung (21) and Kyle Edmund (23), reached the semifinals. However, there is a growing resistance by an older generation of players - not least Roger Federer (36) who went on to win the Grand Slam down under. These older players making late-career resurgences are almost old enough to be fathers of the “next-gen” of players and are proving that experience can trump vitality. While Federer leads the pack, some of his contemporaries are also making spirited efforts in 2018 to keep up with the pace of this very physically demanding sport.
Earlier this month Stéphane Robert won the Burnie International on the Challenger Tour at the age of 37. After reaching a career-high ranking of No. 50 in late 2016, Robert is now breathing new life into his career in 2018 and making his way back up the rankings, showing no signs of slowing down. Strong from the baseline, his game is well suited to clay courts and he can expect to climb even higher in the rankings come clay season.
The oldest man in this bunch, the enormous Croat will turn 39 later this month. Widely regarded as having one of the best serves in tennis history, Karlovic holds the record for the most aces in history, succeeding his compatriot Goran Ivanišević. His tally now stands at over 12,000 aces. Yesterday, he defeated Ernesto Escobedo to reach the Round-of-16 in the Ecuador Open. He finished the match without facing a single break point, proving that his serve is still a force to be reckoned with despite his age. With a game suited to fast courts, he will be looking for continued success in the grass court season this year
After a successful 2017 season in which he won perhaps his biggest title at Queens with a victory over Marin Cilic, the 36-year-old Spaniard is still looking like a very dangerous player. Earlier this year in the Sydney International, Lopez defeated World No. 26 Diego Schwartzman comprehensively in straight sets. Just as comfortable playing serve-and-volley tennis as he is with baseline battles, he is a threat on all surfaces and his experience on the largest stages in world tennis will surely work in his favor even when playing the more energetic young players.
Following a dreamlike latter part of his 2017 season, the 36-year-old Frenchman has proven that it was no fluke after defeating in-form David Goffin in the Australian Open earlier this year. As of this year - the 18th of his career - he has reached 10 finals on the singles tour and unfortunately lost them all. However, the run of good form he has found himself in recently could bring the end to his disappointment in big finals. At the very least, fans will get the chance to watch more of his exciting brand of tennis this year as his he is looking fully fit and there are no apparent chinks in his armor.