Andy Murray returned to the Miami Sony Open finals yesterday by defeating Richard Gasquet last night in three sets, 67, 61, 62. In the Sunday final Murray will meet the consistent and ever-present David Ferrer who slipped by Tommy Haas earlier in the day.
The match between the two veterans, 30-year-old Ferrer and 34-year-old Haas, was one of the oldest semifinals on the ATP Tour in recent history. And it signals another indication that tennis has become and older man’s sport.
Currently on the pro tour there are no teens ranked in the Top 200 on the ATP, and just seven under 21s compared to 46 30+ in that same ranking range. Twenty-year-olds Bernard Tomic and Ryan Harrison are the two youngest in the Top 100.
After his win yesterday, Murray commented on why this is happening to pro tennis.
“People are saying we need to speed up the courts because guys are not going to be able to play as long. But then, on the other hand, guys are reaching their peak later in their careers,” Murray pointed out. “A lot of the guys that used to play serve and volley had a lot of problems with their backs and their knees and hips and finished when they were 28, 29 years old. I think now it seems like guys are able to play longer or guys maybe aren’t breaking through at such a young age. The average age at the top 100 has increased by a few years since I first came on the tour. I think, you know, the game has got more physical.
“But guys are probably training better. There are better training methods and people probably understanding how to recover from matches better and learning new things all the time about how the body works. So that’s probably one of the reasons why the older guys are doing better now.”
Murray also said that because of all the time off Haas has in his career to recover from injuries, the German is probably younger in the body that 34.
“The thing with Tommy, he has had a lot of injuries during his career,” said Murray. “He’s quite a young 34 in that respect. He’s missed probably three, four years, I would say, through injuries and various issues.”
Murray will seek his second Miami title against Ferrer and in their 11 previous encounters the Scot leads by a small margin 6-5, though 5-1 on hardcourts.
“Ferrer has a great attitude on the court,” Murray said. “He fights for every single point. You’re going to have to do more running than against some players that may be 30 Love or 40 Love, may just miss or give you a point almost. You know, it’s not like that with him. He plays every single point hard, and that’s why it’s tough against him.”
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