tennis players who are late bloomers stan wawrinka

5 Pro Tennis Players Who Bloomed Late in Their Career

What age do most tennis players start?

Experts say that the majority of professional tennis players today began practising tennis when they are between 4 and 6 years old.

Is this true for all tennis players? No. Can I start playing tennis at 15 or 20? Yes. Will I win a major title at that age? Who knows.

Take a cue from these tennis players who are late bloomers.

5) Monica Niculescu

Niculescu is a Romanian tennis player who reached her career-high 28 when she was already 28 years old.

Turning pro in May 2002, she played in singles and doubles category. In 2017, at the age of 30, she played at the Wimbledon Championships women’s doubles.

She is known for her unorthodox style of play, using the forehand as her primary stroke. In a Sports Illustrated interview, she once said, “I play very different; I don’t give you a rhythm. It’s hard to know when it started.”

4) Feliciano Lopez

Lopez turned pro in 1997. However, he reached his career-high ranking at the ATP, No. 12, when he was already 33 years old in 2015.

Also, Lopez was the only male Spanish player to reach Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2005, then again in 2008 and 2011. The last player who was able to do such a feat was in 1972. 

However, it was in 2016 that he first won a Grand Slam title at the French Open. He played in the men’s doubles with Marc Lopez.

He also played in the 2017 US Open Finals in the doubles tournament.

While he experiences difficulty in recovering after a match, Lopez relies on his fitness regime to extend his career.

3) Roberta Vinci

Vinci is the other half of the dominant women’s doubles with Sara Errani. They dominated the 2012 to 2016 Grand Slam doubles. She reached her career-high in doubles category at No. 1 in 2015.

However, she also performed in the singles tournament, reaching the world’s No. 7 career-high in 2016. Part of her ranking was brought by upsetting Serena Williams once during the US Open in 2015.

Vinci was the oldest player in the Top 10 at 33 years old. She was also the fourth Italian tennis player to achieve that status.

Vinci retired in 2018.

2) Angelique Kerber

Kerber turned pro in 2003 when she was only 15 years old. However, it took her thirteen years to reach the No. 1 ranking in September 2016. She was the oldest to achieve such ranking at 28 years old.

She reached the quarter-finals of the French Open in 2012 and 2018. However, she had already won the Australian and US Opens in 2016 and Wimbledon Championships in 2018.

In 2016, she upset Williams who was the No. 1 then.

As of November 2019, Kerber ranked No. 20.

1) Stan Wawrinka

Wawrinka was Roger Federer’s perennial men’s doubles partner. However, both achieved greater success playing for the men’s singles.

When Wawrinka started playing alone, he went on to win three Grand Slam titles such as Australian Open in 2014, French Open in 2015, and the US Open in 2016. He defeated all the No. 1 ranked tennis players then on each tournament.

He also played in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon twice, in 2014 and 2015.

With all these, The Economist dubbed him as tennis’s great latecomer.

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