Whippersnappers not allowed
Despite its outward civility, Professional Tennis can be a brutal sport for the players, and the sell by date for most is around age 30, give or take a couple of years. So it takes a dedicated athlete to carry on in the face of Father Time, lingering injuries, and young phenoms nipping at your Nike’s.
In the past couple of years we’ve paid tribute to the ATP Top Twenty Players and the Hottest Players Outside The Top 20, and as this year’s Australian Open commences, we’re going to look at all of the players in the Top 100 who have crossed the “30” milestone mark.
They may be the tennis equivalent of Methuselah, but they can still teach the young guns a thing or two!
Roger Federer – 31
Ranked #2, Roger is still going strong long after most pundits had written him off. Last year he won his seventh Wimbledon title and regained the #1 ranking, proving the naysayers wrong and solidifying his status as the GOAT.
David Ferrer – 30
Ranked #5, David has made the most of his quickness and tenacity to settle in just below the “Big Four,” and is playing the best of his career late in his tennis life.
Tommy Haas – 34
Ranked #21, Tommy has been one of the hottest tennis guys for fifteen years, and has thankfully experienced a career resurgence as of late, which hopefully means we can watch him swing freely (google “Tommy Haas No Briefs” for more info) for more years to come.
Mikhail Youzhny – 30
Ranked #25, Mikhail has been up and down the rankings for a number of years, but his occasional hot temper gets in the way. If he could only learn to better use his head.
Mardy Fish – 31
Ranked #27, Mardy was the top American man last year, but recurring injuries have affected his ranking (and have throughout his entire career). If he could go an entire season healthy, there’s no telling how far he could go.
Jurgen Melzer – 31
Ranked #29, Jurgen was ranked in the top ten last year for the first time in his career, but his greatest triumph was reaching the semis of Roland Garros in 2010, defeating Novak Djokovic along the way.
Radek Stepanek – 34
Ranked #33, Radek has seen erratic rankings over the last few years, climbing as high as #12. But he’s probably best known for his personal life, having been engaged to Martina Hingis and marrying former tennis pin-up Nicole Vaidišová.
Julien Benneteau – 31
Ranked #35, Julien reached a career high of #26 last year, but he’s best known for getting to seven ATP finals … and losing every one. But he’s still fighting, and still looking for that elusive first win.
Nikolay Davydenko – 31
Ranked #40, Nikolay was ranked as high as #3 a few years ago, and twice reached the semis of the U.S. Open, but his level has dropped off recently, and his ranking has tumbled, perhaps owing to his sidejob as the lead singer of Midnight Oil.
Feliciano Lopez – 31
Ranked #42, Deliciano (as Andy Murray’s mum refers to him) has been hovering in the 20-30 range in the rankings for the last few years, but let’s face it, he’s best known for posing for pictures like the one above. It’s something that definitely should be encouraged.
Jarkko Nieminem – 31
Ranked #44, Jarkko is the greatest Finnish tennis player of all time (sorry, Veli Paloheimo), and has been to the quarters of three of the four majors.
Michael llodra – 32
Ranked #52, we’re glad Michael has passed the “30” milestone, because it gives us another excuse to show his classic court-stripping moment.
Paul-Henri Mathieu – 31
Ranked #58, Paul-Henri has been as high as #12, and is adorable.
Victor Hanescu – 31
Ranked #61, Victor is the most successful Romanian tennis player since Ilie Năstase, and has shown a bit of the same fire.
Xavier Malisse – 32
Ranked #62, The X-Man is the greatest Belgian player of all time (well, the greatest male Belgian player), and reached a career high of #19 back in mid 00’s before losing a couple of years to injury. But he’s back and trying to regain his previous form.
Benjamin Becker – 31
Ranked #65, Benjamin will perhaps always be best known as the man who handed Andre Agassi his final defeat, at the 2006 U.S. Open.
Lukasz Kubot – 30
Ranked #76, Lukasz the Lionhearted has been to the third round or better of all four majors and boasted wins over Andy Roddick and Gael Monfils.
Bjorn Phau – 33
Ranked #78, Bjorn has never been past the second round of a major, and has never been ranked higher than #59, but has had a solid career, and did a win over Andre Agassi in the 2006 Dubai Championship.
Lleyton Hewitt – 31
Ranked #82, Rusty has been just that over the last few seasons, thanks to a number of injuries, but if this is his last year on tour, at least he’ll always be a former #1 with a U.S Open and Wimbledon title. The Hall Of Fame awaits.
David Nalbandian – 31
Ranked #84, David has reached the semis of all four Majors, and reached the Wimbledon final in 2002. He’s been as high as #3 in the world, but his ranking has tumbled over the last few seasons.
Filippo Volandri – 31
Ranked #87, It seems like every year we try to find some excuse to post this pic of Filippo … but this time it’s legitimate!
Olivier Rochus – 31
Ranked #89, Olivier hasn’t let his small stature ( At 5 ft 5 in tall he is officially the shortest player on the ATP World Tour) stop him from enjoying a successful tennis career. Even when he’s had to play John Isner.
Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo – 35
Ranked #90, Ruben is the oldest player in the Top 100, and though he’s never been ranked higher than #50, he’s still carving out a career in his mid-30s, mostly on clay.
Michael Russell – 34
Ranked #92, Michael turned pro fifteen years ago, and while he’s never been past the 4th round of a major (in Roland Garros in 2001, he was up two sets and had match point against two-time champion Gustavo Kuertan … and lost the match), he’s been a tireless professional (John McEnroe once praised “no one’s going to try harder on a tennis court than Michael Russell.”
Albert Montanes – 32
Ranked #95, Albert has been ranked as high as #22, and apparently refuses to practice shirtless.