Murray: Slower courts aid longevity
Andy Murray says that perhaps a reason why players are playing at an elite level into their 30s is because today’s baseliners hold up longer than net-rushers once did.
“People are saying we need to speed up the courts because guys are not going to be able to play as long. But then, on the other hand, guys are reaching their peak later in their careers,” Murray told reporters in Miami. “A lot of the guys that used to play serve and volley had a lot of problems with their backs and their knees and hips, and finished when they were 28, 29 years old. I think now it seems like guys are able to play longer or guys maybe aren’t breaking through at such a young age. The average age at the Top 100 has increased by a few years since I first came on the tour.”
Murray also said that the game has become more physical and that current players are likely training smarter.
“There are better training methods and people probably understanding how to recover from matches better and learning new things all the time about how the body works,” he said. “So that’s probably one of the reasons why the older guys are doing better now.”
Tommy Haas, who will turn 35 next week and who reached the semis of the Sony Open, agreed that having a better understanding as to how the body worked has helped keep him going.
“You look at some of the Tri Athletes and Iron Man guys, they’re in their mid 30s and performing at the best, highest level,” he said. “I think what it comes down to is the older you get you would assume you get wiser. Now with nutrition and everything you can do, the right training, the physios that you have it just helps you mentally, knowing that you’re putting in the work…but with experience, that’s why you see so many 30 years old now in the Top 100 like never before, just because you’re eager, and also maybe you know like this is a way if you want to keep on riding for as long as you can, because realistically it’s not golf. You can’t playing unbelievable into your late 30s, 40s, 50s. It’s just going to be done maybe at 35, 36, 37, depending on when your body doesn’t allow you anymore or when you mentally are just drained from all the traveling over the years.”