In one word, journeymen. I actually came across these names researching another article. I had never heard of them but instantly found their story fascinating. These are all players still playing professional tennis into their 40’s despite very limited career success.
Mastsui is 44 year old and currently ranked 1684th in the world. He turned pro in the year 2000 and has made $343k dollars in his career prize money which comes up to $15,590 dollars a year. He achieved a career-high ranking of #261 back in 2006. One would assume he has some sponsorships to supplement his travel and help him make a living (or is independently wealthy?). Either way it’s clear he’s not in tennis to get rich when he’s won less prize money than you could make at a part-time minimum wage job. He obviously loves the sport to still be grinding at this age.
Matsui’s most recent match was earlier this month where he lost to a 19 year old ranked 572nd in the world in a competitive 2-setter that went to a tie break. He was ranked in the top 1000 just 3 months ago as well. If he can keep playing until age 45 he will have a chance to break Younes El Ayaoui as the oldest man to ever achieve an ATP Ranking the best I can tell from my research. The difference of course is El Ayaoui was a high level player that reached a peak of #14 in the world. Entirely different paths where Matsui has toiled on the Challenger and ITF Tours. He’s only played 6 ATP tour matches in 22 years. That’s what I find most remarkable about his career, the fact is it so unremarkable in a way combined with his longevity. The 4 matches he actually won on the ATP tour were guys ranked in the in the hundreds I’d never heard of. He did face Guillermo Coria in 2005 when he was ranked 8th in the world and lost 6-0, 6-1.
Quintero’s story seems very similar to Matsui. He is 42 years old, and ranked 1475th in the world. He reached his peak ranking of 245th in 2007 and has made $206k dollars in prize money in his career. Quintero seems to have had a better career despite making less money. He was in far more ITF Future finals and won 10 titles. He also made it to qualifying at the Australian, French and 2 US Opens but never advanced past the first qualifying round. He last played at the end of 2021 so he may have actually retired and still just have a few rankings points out there. Nonetheless still an interesting career. He played in 12 ATP matches the most recent of which was in 2015 years later than Mastsui played his last. He didn’t play anyone as noteworthy as Coria though.
Last but not least certainly of this triumvirate is Pospisil, whose career actually seems like a hall of fame one by comparison. He’s 41 years old and still on tour, currently ranked 507th in the world. He has earned 543k dollars in prize money since turning pro in 2000 as well. Pospisil reached a career high of #103 in 2012. He is the only man of the 3 to actually play in a grand slam event in Wimbledon back in 2011 where he lost in the first round to Victor Hanesue. Unlike the other 2 players he actually won a Challenger Tour event whereas they only made a couple of finals. Pospisil won 3 as well as 25 ITF titles. Certainly, the biggest moment of his career had to be defeating Gael Monfils in 2014 when he was ranked #31 in the world. That is legit and something to tell the grandkids about one day. He also faced some other quality players including Fernando Verdasco and Dominc Thiem.
So now you know who some of the oldest players in professional tennis currently are. I may be the only person that actually thinks this is interesting but it’s intriguing to me the non typical careers they have had, their obvious drive, and longevity.