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Tennis Academy: When Do Tennis Players Peak

I believe the best way to try to understand this is Peak Elo Ratings. If you aren’t familiar with Elo Ratings, this is a great article explaining how they are calculated. Here are the peak Elo Ratings for the top 100 players, and the age in which they achieved them.

Peak Elo
AgeElo
1Novak Djokovic282629
2Bjorn Borg242622
3John McEnroe262583
4Rafael Nadal272552
5Roger Federer252550
6Jimmy Connors262521
7Ivan Lendl262518
8Rod Laver312509
9Andy Murray292500
10Guillermo Vilas252431
11Boris Becker212419
12Pete Sampras222407
13Ken Rosewall332388
14Stan Smith262381
15Andre Agassi252376
16Mats Wilander242371
17Stefan Edberg242370
18Ilie Nastase302363
19Tony Roche232355
20Arthur Ashe322354
21David Ferrer302348
22Vitas Gerulaitis242335
23Juan Martin Del Potro202331
24Jim Courier212330
25John Newcombe272327
26Brian Gottfried252324
27Tom Okker302317
28Daniil Medvedev252316
29Gene Mayer242303
30Alexander Zverev242303
31Jose Luis Clerc222297
32Kei Nishikori262296
33Lleyton Hewitt212295
34Nikolay Davydenko282291
35Stan Wawrinka292291
36Manuel Orantes262290
37Thomas Muster282287
38Eddie Dibbs272282
39Gustavo Kuerten242281
40Andy Roddick212274
41Michael Stich252272
42Robin Soderling262271
43Milos Raonic252269
44Yannick Noah232268
45Michael Chang242267
46Tomas Berdych292263
47Andres Gimeno312261
48Roscoe Tanner272261
49Stefanos Tsitsipas222258
50Miloslav Mecir232257
51Harold Solomon272256
52Patrick Rafter252255
53Dominic Thiem272250
54Raul Ramirez232249
55Goran Ivanisevic212246
56Jo Wilfried Tsonga262244
57Dennis Ralston252242
58Joakim Nystrom232242
59Adriano Panatta252241
60Marcelo Rios222241
61Sergi Bruguera232232
62Marin Cilic252232
63Guillermo Coria222229
64Cliff Drysdale302227
65Andrey Rublev232227
66Earl Butch Buchholz272226
67Roy Emerson312225
68Juan Carlos Ferrero232225
69Carlos Alcaraz Garfia192225
70Marty Riessen302223
71Andres Gomez252223
72Petr Korda302222
73Marat Safin252218
74Pat Cash222217
75Yevgeny Kafelnikov252216
76Richard Krajicek272214
77Kent Carlsson202213
78Cliff Richey232212
79Dick Stockton262212
80Jose Higueras262210
81Brad Gilbert282210
82Fernando Gonzalez262209
83Alex Metreveli292208
84Ivan Ljubicic272206
85Fernando Verdasco262204
86Richard Pancho Gonzales422203
87Grigor Dimitrov262203
88Eliot Teltscher222200
89Jan Kodes272197
90David Nalbandian282196
91Richard Gasquet292196
92Carlos Moya272190
93Tommy Haas232189
94Gael Monfils302189
95Magnus Larsson252188
96Todd Martin282188
97Henri Leconte232187
98Jakob Hlasek242184
99Anders Jarryd242182
100Alex Corretja262182

There are a few outliers I think that we need to remove in the mix here.

8Rod Laver312509
47Andres Gimeno312261
67Roy Emerson312225
20Arthur Ashe322354
13Ken Rosewall332388
86Richard Pancho Gonzales422203

These were all players that didn’t have the benefit of playing in the Open Era until they were in their 30’s. I don’t think we can include them when there is no record of how good they were in their 20’s. Likely better players had the system been in place to allow them to compete like they did in the Open Era.

For a very different reason, Carlos Alcaraz needs to come off the list as well. He has many more years ahead of him and will likely post many higher Ratings than he has.

69Carlos Alcaraz Garfia192225

While it is certainly possible, these players have peaked, especially Thiem coming off of injury. I do believe it’s too soon to count any of them as having ultimately peaked just yet.

65Andrey Rublev232227
49Stefanos Tsitsipas222258
30Alexander Zverev242303
28Daniil Medvedev252316
53Dominic Thiem272250

Removing those 12 from the All Time Top 100, the average peak age of the remaining is

25.34 Years Old

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