Oldest Tennis Players Ever in the World

10 Oldest Tennis Players Ever in the World

In 2012, the average age of the top ten men’s tennis players was 27, while the women’s top ten average was just 25.1. While many professional tennis players start as soon as they’re out of high school, the average age of professionals who are on top is increasing, with many of them currently in their late 30s.

This may seem old, but all of the tennis players on this list continued to play in their 40s and the oldest player is still going strong in her 70s! In addition to being the oldest tennis players ever, many of the people on this list are some of the greatest players in tennis history and still hold several records.

All of these tennis players prove that age doesn’t have to stop you from going after your dreams.

10. Tommy Haas (April 3, 1978 – Present)

Oldest Age While Still Active: 39 in early 2018 (currently 40 years old)
Country of Origin:  Hamburg, Germany – moved to USA in 1991
Years as a Professional:  1996 – 2018
Career Titles:  16

photo source:  Wikimedia Commons

Tommy Haas recently retired in early 2018, about a month before his 40th birthday. Haas was four years old when he started playing tennis and his talent was nurtured by his father, Peter Haas. When Haas was 13 years old, he moved to Florida to train under the famous tennis coach, Nick Bollettieri.

Haas started his professional career in 1996, which was the same year he graduated from high school. Within a few short years, Haas ranked in the top 10 for the first time and also won his first title in 1999. Haas’ career continued to take off and by the end, he earned 15 singles titles and 1 in doubles.

9. Takao Suzuki (September 20, 1976 – Present)

Oldest Age While Still Active: 42 in 2018
Country of Origin:  Sapporo, Japan
Years as a Professional:  1995 – Present
Career Titles:  1

Takao Suzukiphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Takao Suzuki may not have as many titles as most of the players on this list, but he is still playing at the age of 42. Suzuki has been playing tennis since he was a child and turned professional in 1995.

While Suzuki’s overall rank high was at No. 102, he was ranked No. 1 in his home country of Japan. In 2017, Suzuki became the first player in their 40s to reach the final of an ITF Pro Circuit event. Suzuki also has the most wins for Japan in the Davis Cup than any other player.

8. Jimmy Connors

Oldest Age While Still Active: 44 in 1996
Country of Origin:  Belleville, Illinois, USA
Years as a Professional:  1972 – 1996
Career Titles:  125

Jimmy Connorsphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Jimmy Connors is another legendary tennis player who stayed in the game well into his 40s. Like John McEnroe, Connors was known for his fiery temper in addition to his strong tennis skills. Connors verbally fought with his opponents, tennis officials, and also the crowd.

According to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which inducted Connors in 1998, Connors never ever apologized for his behavior.

Despite his polarizing behavior, Connors won 125 tournaments during his long career. Connors holds the Open Era record for most championships won (109) and was the year-end No. 1 world ranked player from 1974 through 1978. He was also the first player to use a steel Wilson T2000 racket, instead of the traditional wooden racket.

7. Ken Rosewall (November 2, 1934 – Present)

Oldest Age While Still Active: 46 in 1980
Country of Origin:  Sydney, Australia
Years as a Professional:  1957 – 1980
Career Titles:  133

Ken Rosewallphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Ken Rosewall had a long tennis career spanning over three decades. Rosewall holds several records, including being the oldest major tournament winner in the Open Era, when, at age 37,  he defeated Mal Anderson to win the 1972 Australian Open.

On the other end of the spectrum, Rosewall still holds the record for being the youngest champion of the Australian championship, which he won for the first time in 1953 when he was just 18 years old.

Rosewall went on to win 133 tournaments over his long career and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1980, the same year he retired. At 83 years old, Rosewall is still alive and has the honor of being an Australian Living Treasure for his outstanding contributions to Australian society.

6. John McEnroe (February 16, 1959 – Present)

Oldest Age While Still Active: 46 in 2006 (few days shy of his 47th birthday)
Country of Origin:  1978 – 2006
Years as a Professional:  1957 – 1980
Career Titles:  155

photo source:  Wikimedia Commons

John McEnroe is one of the greatest tennis players in history and also one of the most controversial. McEnroe was often called an artist for the way he handled a tennis racket and his skills helped him win 77 singles titles and 72 in doubles competition. He was also ranked No. 1 in both categories.

In 1999, McEnroe was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

While McEnroe’s skills were legendary, so were his temperamental outbursts. McEnroe was such a passionate and intense player that he had some of the greatest rivalries in tennis history, especially with Jimmy Connors and Björn Borg. McEnroe’s temper earned him a reputation and he was often parodied in pop culture. However, at times he has been in on the joke and has appeared in several commercials acting out his infamous outbursts.

5. Kimiko Date (September 28, 1970 – Present)

Oldest Age While Still Active: 46 in 2017 (few days shy of her 47th birthday)
Country of Origin:  Kyoto, Japan
Years as a Professional:  1989 – 2017
Career Titles:  22

Kimiko Datephoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Kimiko Date has played professional tennis for nearly all of her adult life. Date started playing tennis when she was in elementary school and went pro as soon as she graduated from high school in 1989. A year later, Date made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open.

In 1994, Date won her first international tournament, the NSW Open in Sydney, and became the first Japanese tennis player to rank in the Top 10 of the WTA Tour Rankings – Date was ranked at No. 9.

Although Date wanted to continue playing tennis, she was forced to retire in 2017 because her body was no longer in shape enough to keep going. Date’s final tournament was at the 2017 Japan Women’s Open, which took place just before her 47th birthday.

4. Billie Jean King (November 22, 1943 – Present)

Oldest Age While Still Active: 47 in 1990
Country of Origin:  Long Beach, California, USA
Years as a Professional:  1968 – 1990
Career Titles:  168

photo source:  Wikimedia Commons

Billie Jean King is a legendary tennis player who is made many advancements in the sport for women. King founded the Women’s Tennis Association in 1973 and made history that same year when she beat Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match.

She also successfully lobbied for equal prize money for men and women at the U.S. Open in 1973. A few years earlier, King was the first female athlete in any sport to earn more than $100,000 in prize money in a single season.

Additionally, King was the first tennis player to be named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the year and was the first female athlete ever to receive the honors. In her personal life, King was one of the first female athletes to publicly come out as a lesbian, which caused her to lose all of her endorsement deals. King was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987.

3. Younes El Aynaoui (September 12, 1971 – Present)

Oldest Age While Still Active: 47 in 2018
Country of Origin:  Rabat, Morocco
Years as a Professional:  1990 – Present
Career Titles:  5

Younes El Aynaouiphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Younes El Aynaoui of Morocco is currently still active in the professional tennis circuit. El Aynaoui has been playing professionally since 1990 and is still going strong. In 2017, El Aynaoui, at the age of 45, won an IFT match against 23-year-old Bernd Kossler. This win means that El Aynaoui is the oldest player to currently have an ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) ranking.

El Aynaoui is probably best known for competing against Andy Roddick at the 2003 Australian Open. Their match is considered one of the greatest Grand Slam quarterfinals ever and at the time, it was the fifth longest set in Grand Slam history. That year, El Aynaoui reached his career high rank of No. 13.

2. Martina Navratilova (October 18, 1956 – Present)

Oldest Age While Still Active: 49 years, 11 months in 2006
Country of Origin:  Revnice, Czech Republic – moved to USA in 1975
Years as a Professional:  1975 – 2006
Career Titles:  369

Martina Navratilovaphoto source:  Wikimedia Commons

Martina Navratilova is considered to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time of any gender. According to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, which inducted Navratilova in 2000, no male or female tennis player has won more singles tournaments than Navratilova (167), doubles events (177), or matches (2,189).

Navratilova’s professional tennis career began in 1975 and lasted until 2006. That year, a month shy of her 50th birthday, Navratilova won the mixed doubles championship at the US Open, making her the oldest tennis player in history to win a major title. In addition to being a legendary tennis player, Navratilova has been an LGBT activists since she came out in 1981.

1. Gail Falkenberg (January 16, 1947 – Present)

Oldest Age While Still Active: 71 in 2018
Country of Origin:  USA
Years as a Professional:  c.1980s – Present
Career Titles:  0

Gail Falkenbergphoto source:  tennis.com

Although she only plays at the lower levels of the pro tennis circuit, Gail Falkenberg, who is still playing tennis at the age of 71, is the oldest tennis player in the world. Falkenberg was thrust into the spotlight in 2016 when she won a professional tennis match at 69 years old.

She defeated Rosalyn Small in the qualification of ITF Pelham and went on to play against Taylor Townsend, who was at one point the No. 1 junior in the world.

Falkenberg has been playing tennis since she was in college in the 1960s and following a break, she turned pro in the early 1980s. In 1988, Falkenberg won a match at that year’s Australian open and shared a locker room with tennis greats, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, and Steffi Graf.


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