The ageless Tommy Haas is still playing good tennis. Now at age 35, Haas is having one of his best seasons as pro. Already this year the former No. 2 has climbed back into the Top 15 with wins over Novak Djokovic, Ernests Gulbis and John Isner. Two weeks ago in Cincinnati he should have had another against Roger Federer.
Haas won yesterday and quietly in his 16th US Open he’s into the third round against Mikhail Youzhny on Sunday.
But Haas isn’t satisfied. He still sets his vision to winning a Slam. And he draws that inspiration from other athletes who have excelled in their mid 30s
“I don’t know the statistic in many other sports, but I think people in the mid 30s can still do some of their best times,” Haas pointed out. “If you look at maybe triathletes or even the ironmans, those are the guys in my age or even older and they’re doing their best times ever. It’s always about being smart, about how you train and what you do off the court. And if your body allows you to do all that stuff, then it’s really up to you in many ways. It takes just discipline and work. You know, if you put all that together and you try your best at doing that, you know, I think it gives you a lot of chances.
“If you look at some former champions, even like Andre Agassi when he was 34, 35, 36, what high level he was playing, it was inspirational for me at that time. Other people have done it in their late 30s as well. Look at Jimmy Connors when he was 39. Those moments stick out in your brain.
“The game also has gotten more physical, and there is no question that the body can only take so much. You know, as long as you keep trying and pushing as much as you can, who knows where it can take you? For me, it’s been definitely worth every little time that I have dedicated to it.”
Because of all injuries forcing him to miss significant time from the tennis circuit, Haas may not have the same wear-and-tear of other players his age. And that could allow him to play well for many more years.
“I was happy and pleased I got to my first quarterfinal in the French Open this year,” he said. “Putting yourself in a position to get further and to try to get the W, that’s where you want to be. That’s where I’m at right now, so it’s just a matter of seeing where it takes you.”
With Juan Martin Del Potro he’s become the favorite to meet Djokovic in the quarters. Tommy’s a 3-time quarterfinalist at the US Open.
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