Monday , September 26 2022

Historic year sees veterans dominate



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This week's ATP rankings are the year-end rankings, and they're historic: the Top 10 includes seven players age 30 or over, the most in the 45-year history of ATP rankings.

Before 2018, the most players at age 30 or over in an ATP year-end Top 10 were five. It happened twice: first in 1974 (John Newcombe, Rod Laver, Tom Okker, Arthur Ashe and Ken Rosewall), and again in 2015 (Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga).

There is another trend building: only seven times since the ATP rankings started in 1973 has the year-end Top 10 had three or more players age 30 or over – and these were the first three year-end Top 10s (1973, 1974 and 1975 ) and the last four year-end Top 10s (2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018). For 39 years between 1976 and 2014, there was a maximum of two players age 30 or over in the year-end Top 10.

Third-ranked Federer is not only the oldest player in 2018's year-end Top 10, he is the oldest in the year-end Top 100.

"I must tell you, I'm very proud that at 37 I'm still so competitive and so happy playing tennis," said Federer. "For me, that was a huge moment in my life and in my career, because I never thought I would get there again.

"Here I am having a pretty good season, as well, won another Slam, too – so yes, you can see it as a very, very positive season. That's probably how I'll look back on it once I'm on vacation. "

But while the old guard continues his reign, his leader is not resting on his laurels.

"I think there is a lot of quality in the new generation," top-ranked Djokovic said at the ATP Finals, where he was beaten in the final by Zverev. "Zverev is obviously the leader of that next generation. Then you have players like [Karen] Khachanov, of course, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, [Borna] Coric. I think tennis is in good hands.

"At the same time, I think older guys, we are still obviously working hard and working smart and trying to get the most out of what we have left in ourselves. How long that's going to go, we do not know But obviously experience plays an important role in these sorts of matches, obviously that's on our side. "

trivia

♦ There were seven changes at No. 1 during the season, the most since eight changes in 1999. Djokovic, Nadal and Federer all ranked No. 1 at one time during the season. The last time at least three players ranked No. 1 during the season was in 2003 when Andre Agassi, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick reached the top spot.

This is the tallest Top 10 in the history of ATP Rankings with Isner (6'10 ") and Anderson (6'8") leading the way. They are the two top players to finish in the Top 10. Overall, there were five players at least 6'6 "in the Top 10 with Zverev, Del Potro and Cilic all at 6'6".

Djokovic, who ended 2017 at No. 12, became the first player in the history of the ATP Rankings to finish No. 1 after ranking outside the Top 10 of the previous season. In June he was ranked as low as No. 22 before making the second half of the season surge by winning four titles in six finals.

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