Sports | July 3, 2017 10:16 am

Why Roger Federer and Older Players Have Taken Over Pro Tennis

Top five players in world, five top-seeded at Wimbledon are all older than 30.

Why Roger Federer and Other Older Stars Are Taking Over Tennis
Roger Federer from Switzerland reacts after winning his final match at the Gerry Weber Open tennis tournament in Halle, western Germany, on June 25, 2017. Roger Federer won the match 6-1, 6-3. (Carmen Jaspersen/AFP/Getty Images)

Fans expecting to see all of the world’s finest, youngest talent battle it out on the court at Wimbledon this year are in for a big surprise.

The ranks of professional tennis have been invaded by the sport’s elders.

Per the Wall Street Journal, for the first time in the modern era, the top five players in the world and top five seeded at Wimbledon are over the age of 30.

Why the sea change? It has everything to do with how older tennis pros are approaching the game—and may lead back to 2005, when a 35-year-old Andre Agassi faced Roger Federer at the U.S. Open, according to the American icon’s coach, Brad Gilbert.

It also stems from a number of other facts, including “skyrocketing prize money, better knowledge of fitness and nutrition, and the shaky psyches and physical weaknesses of players who were supposed to bump off the aging greats,” per the Journal.

How have aging stars such as 36-year-old Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal, 31, managed to regain their form after battling late-career injuries? Tennis experts cited in the story believe the key has been making improvements on their backhands and “using the shot as a weapon rather than a defensive tool to set up a forehand.”