How Tennis Stars Like Andy Murray and Gaël Monfils Handle Aging

They consider their bodies and the results on the court to determine when to hang it up.

For two decades, men’s tennis pretty much meant Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Now, Federer is retired and a hobbled Nadal is nearing the end. Djokovic won three Grand Slam events last year, but at 36 he is suddenly struggling, even as he heads into the French Open ranked No. 1.

But below Mount Olympus, life is different for tennis mortals. Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic all won Grand Slam events and are still playing, as are Gaël Monfils, Richard Gasquet, Fabio Fognini, Roberto Bautista Agut and Kei Nishikori, players who once cracked the top 10.

These players still scuffle along in reduced circumstances, far lower in the rankings than during their halcyon days. These old men of the court — all 34 to 39 years old — win a few matches here and there without much chance of regaining their former glory, yet they keep grinding.

Gaël Monfils, 37, celebrating after a win at the 2024 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells. “Every day I ask myself why I’m still doing this,” he said, before citing his “passion for the game” as his motivation.Michael Owens/Getty Images

Now, only Monfils, ranked 36th, is even in the top 50. Murray is 75th, while Bautista Agut, Wawrinka, Fognini and Gasquet are from 80th through 124th. Cilic has fallen to 1,063rd but just had a second knee surgery in the hopes of coming back, while Nishikori is ranked 347th and still striving to get back on the court. (The miraculous inverse to all this is Adrian Mannarino, who suddenly at 35 cracked the top 20 for the first time this year.)

“Every day I ask myself why I’m still doing this,” Monfils said with a laugh, before citing his “passion for the game” as his motivation. (He has extra incentive: His wife, Elina Svitolina, who is 29 and still in the WTA’s top 20, “pushes me quite a lot.”)

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Source: Tennis -


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