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Sports Tennis

Old (Tennis) Things New Part II

francesca schiavone

After getting feedback from readers on my last article, I realized there are a few additional lesser known older players not named Federer or Venus that are giving Father Time a run for his money. So, here are their stories.

Ivo Karlovic

Ivo Karlovic
Photo 10sballs.com

Despite a losing record on the year, the near seven foot Croatian is still hanging tough. He is ranked No. 21 at age 38. The all-time leader in aces remains an uncomfortable matchup for everyone.

That was not more evident than at this year’s Australian Open. The big man fired a tournament record 75 aces in an epic five set win over Horacio Zeballos.

No one will ever want to play a guy who can drop 150 mph serves like nothing, no matter his age. A player never wants the racquet taken out of their hands. That is exactly what Karlovic does. A winning career mark against Novak Djokovic tells you all you need to know about what a nightmare Karlovic can be.

Tommy Robredo

The 34-year-old Spaniard has been ranked inside the top 50 for most of the last decade. After missing the bulk of 2016 with injuries, he started the year ranked outside the top 600.

Tommy Robredo
Photo: atpworldtourcom

Playing on a protected ranking in Morocco this week, Robredo upset top seed and former Wimbledon semifinalist Grigor Dimitrov, who had been playing the most consistent tennis of his career in recent months.

It remains to be seen just what the long-term potential of Robredo’s injury comeback is. For a veteran who is basically starting from scratch again, a result like that is why you keep playing.

 

Francesca Schiavone

The Italian was already a veteran when she shocked the world by winning the 2010 French Open. She did an okay job of backing up that result for a while. However, the last two full years have really been a struggle for Schiavone. Her year-end singles ranking has dipped outside of the top 90.

Prior to the start of this year, Schiavone announced it would be her last on tour. Playing mostly using wildcards, wins have been tough to come by. This week on the clay courts of Bogotá, Colombia, the 36-year-old turned back the clock, racing to the trophy without dropping a set.

The win is one of the most important in Schiavone’s nearly two-decade career. Her eighth career title also means 600 career match wins and key ranking points ahead of what will be her last French Open.

Passion is the only word that comes to mind when talking about these longtime warriors of the court. These player love what they do, and sometimes that can get the job done even when their physical skills are diminishing.

 

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