I woke up feeling curious this morning. Perhaps the news that yet another grand slam event will feature three athletes over the age of 30 in the finals, could have sparked this curiosity. So I went on a hunt to try and explain this phenomena with you all. I have found some insightful data which could help you realise that this was certainly not a trend that happened overnight and it is highly likely that it will continue into the future. It is important that parents, players, coaches, mentors, governing bodies etc begin to understand the consequences of this shift and adapt every aspect of their programs, selection processes and other processes to remain competitive.
Athletes aged 27+ contesting in a grand slam final between years 2010 and 2015
Women: 25/40 (62.5%)
Men: 19/40 (47.5%)
Result: The women’s game has clearly evolved into a game for ‘women’ and not ‘girls’. The men’s game is not necessarily experiencing the same trend, with a higher amount of players aged below 27 reaching the final stage of grand slam events. The trend in older players reaching the final stage of grand slam events looks to continue, more so for the women’s game.
Recommendation: The depth could also be assessed for the SF and QF stages of grand slam events, as well as the mandatory WTA and ATP tournaments to strengthen this theory.
It makes me wonder, do national governing bodies take this useful data into consideration? Do they treat the developmental journey for both male and female players the same? Are they attuned to the modern game of tennis? I wonder indeed.