Melbourne, Australia, 6 September 2013 | tennis.com.au
Gone are the days when teenage whiz-kids ruled the sport of tennis.
Nowadays, as the average age of the ATP and WTA’s top 100 continues to rise, you’re more likely to see a veteran claiming the game’s biggest prizes than a precocious youngster.
Never before has that been more apparent than at the US Open this year; on the women’s side, three of the semifinalists – Serena Williams, Li Na and Flavia Pennetta – are 31 years old.
Had Daniela Hantuchova defeated Victoria Azarenka in their quarterfinal, it would have been the first time in history that all four semifinalists at the one major tournament were 30-somethings.
With that in mind this Friday, we take you through the 10 oldest Grand Slam champions in the Open Era – beginning with the youngest.
10. Margaret Court
- The Australian won the US Open in 1973 aged 31 years, one month and 23 days
- At the time, Court was the mother of 16-month-old Daniel
- She just pipped her compatriot Rod Laver, who was aged 31 years and one month exactly when he claimed his last Grand Slam title at the same event in 1969.
9. Chris Evert
- Evert was 31 years and five months old when she claimed the French Open title in 1986
- It was her seventh title at Roland Garros
- Seeded second, she defeated No.1 seed Martina Navratilova 2-6 6-3 6-3 in the final
8. Billie Jean King
- At age 31 years, seven months, Billie Jean King won the Wimbledon women’s title in 1975
- It was her sixth singles crown at the All England Club
- She overwhelmed Aussie Evonne Goolagong 6-0 6-1 in the final
7. Serena Williams
- Serena was aged 31 years, eight months and 18 days when she captured the 2013 French Open title
- It came a staggering 11 years after her first triumph in Paris in 2002, the first leg of a non-calendar year Grand Slam
- Williams dropped only one set throughout the tournament; it came against Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals
6. Virginia Wade
- The Brit was 31 years, 11 months and 21 days old when she captured the 1977 Wimbledon singles title
- She defeated Dutchwoman Betty Stove in a three-set final, having also beaten top seed Chris Evert in a three-set semifinal
- She is the last British female player to win a Grand Slam singles title
5. Arthur Ashe
- The trailblazing American was aged 31 years, 11 months and 25 days when he won Wimbledon in 1975, just shy of his 32nd birthday
- It was his only triumph at Wimbledon, and the last of his three career Grand Slam singles titles
- Seeded sixth, he upset top seed Jimmy Connors in four sets in the final; it was his only victory in six matches against Connors
4. Andre Agassi
- The evergreen Agassi was aged 32 years and eight months when he won the last of his eight Grand Slam titles at Australian Open 2003
- It was his fourth title at Melbourne Park, following victories in 1995, 2000 and 2001
- In the 2003 decider, he crushed 31st seed Rainer Schuettler 6-2 6-2 6-1
3. Martina Navratilova
- The great Navratilova was 33 years and eight months old when she captured the Wimbledon crown in 1990
- Navratilova’s 1990 win gave her a record ninth singles trophy at the All England Club among her 18 major singles wins
- She would be nudging 38 years of age when she played the 1994 singles final, and won the last of her majors (mixed doubles at the 2006 US Open) just a month shy of her 50th birthday
2. Andres Gimeno
- The Spaniard was 34 years and 10 months old when he captured the 1972 title at Roland Garros
- He is the oldest player ever in the Open Era to win the French Open
- Seeded sixth, he beat No.9 seed Patrick Proisy of France in the final
1. Ken Rosewall
- Sydneysider Ken Rosewall was an incredible 37 years and two months of age when he won the Australian Open in 1972
- It came 19 years after his first Australian Open triumph as an 18-year-old in 1953
- Rosewall holds the three oldest-ever major winning records among men; he also won the Australian Open in 1971 (at 36 years, two months), and the 1970 US Open (at 35 years, 10 months)
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