Longevity is a great feature in the game of tennis. Great players keep on achieving milestones starting early in their career and stretching it beyond the limits of age. They demonstrate through the combination of their talent and persistence that age is just a number, whether it come to winning Slams, getting World Number 1 rankings and much more. In this article we look at the 3 tennis legends who won slams in their teens, 20s and then also 30s, giving a great testimony of their longevity.
3. Ken Rosewall
He is one of the great players Australia ever produced in the game of tennis. Rosewall along with Laver and Emerson ruled the tennis world in the 1950’s and 1960s. Born in 1934, Rosewall won 2 Slams at the age of 19 with his 1st coming at the French Open and later followed the same year at his home Slam of the Australian Open Championships.
In his 20s Rosewall would win 2 more slams, one each at the Australian Open and the US Open. Rosewall won 4 Grand Slams in his 30’s, two of which came in Australian and one each in the French and US Open. Rosewall is still the oldest male player to win a Slam at 38 years of age, which he won in the 1972 Australian Open Championships.
2. Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras was a tennis protégée who surprised then tennis world from a very young age. The great American who was born in 1971 won his 1st Grand Slam at the US Open in 1990 at the age of 19. Many more slam successes would follow in his 20s, as Sampras was the most successful player of the 1990s decade.where he won 12 Grand Slams in his 20s.
Sampras was labelled by the media as a finished story even before he turned 30. The great American however came back strongly to win the 2002 US Open at age of 31, which in those years was deemed reap age for retirement for a tennis player. Sampras finished his career at 14 Slam wins, the most then by any player.
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1. Rafael Nadal
When Rafa Nadal arrived on the scene, many tennis pundits predicted that his tennis career would be short-lived because of his highly physical style of play. Yet the Spaniard finished World Number 1 in 2019 at the age of 33 years and above. Nadal showed his early genius at Roland Garros 2005 winning it in his maiden attempt at the age of 19.
A huge tally of slams would come in his 20s, 13 to be exact. Nadal however began to show signs of slowdown and a possible decay as he approached 3. However, the champion mentality was never to be faded out and Rafa would readjust his game to come back strongly. Nadal in still going strong and has already won 5 slams since he turned 30, the most by any male player. The way Nadal is going, he looks in no mood to stop and could add few more before he calls it a career.