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The Golden Age Of “Older Women” Who Are In Their Late 20s

Illustration for article titled The Golden Age Of “Older Women” Who Are In Their Late 20s

"Older" ladies of tennis, now is your moment!

Old-timers like 29-year-old French Open winner Li Na and her opponent, Francesca Schiavone (who is even older at…30!), are dominating in tennis, signaling a shift from child stars such as Monica Seles and Jennifer Capriati.

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But seriously ladies, enjoy it while it lasts. You're almost 35.

Tennis great Martina Navratilova, 54, weighs in on the trend:

"It'll level off somewhere," Navratilova said. "I don't think you'll see people win Slams at 35, but 30 is not the cutoff point that it used to be."

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It doesn't take a genius to figure out why athletes, male or female, would become better as they age. The older you get, the more you've practiced, and so on.

But perhaps the question here is, why is this a new trend in women's tennis? Why was there a glass ceiling for female tennis players in the past and why are they breaking through now?

Navratilova believes that apart from possible changes in physical strength and overall ability, many women seem to get better with age because it may take them a bit longer to gain the confidence that men often innately possess:

"Francesca could have been better earlier," Navratilova said. "I think she just didn't believe in herself that much. Then she finally realized, yeah, I can play with the best of them. Now you can't stop her. You need a bloody bulldozer to hold her back."

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Golden Age for Older Women At the Highest Levels of Tennis [NYTimes]

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DISCUSSION

theroo
Rooo sez BISH PLZ

It's not just the ladies (which is something I usually don't say). There's been a looooot of blah blah about Roger being an "old man" — he'll be 30 in August — till he won again yesterday.

*stops to do cartwheels*

*sits down again*

Part of it, I think, has been just the nature of the sport to date — all that starting and stopping and sprinting and lateral movement for 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 hours, practically year-round, in the sun.

But there've been advances in training methodology, equipment, and shotmaking technique that are empowering players to last much longer in the sport if they're well-trained. And also, tennis is like chess while running around; the more you've played and seen, one would think, the better your tennis mind.

That said, Venus & Serena, please come back and play some more! We miss you!