5 Oldest Grand Slam Winners In The Open Era

Age has not necessarily proved to be a barrier to Grand Slam success in the open era

Anyone who has thought that tennis is a young player’s game has been forced to eat their words more than once in recent years and the modern era has seen the game’s top stars continue their dominating well beyond the age of 35.

Novak Djokovic will reach that milestone in May, but if he makes a successful defence of his Wimbledon title this summer, he would still be only fifth in the list of the oldest male and female players to claim a Grand Slam title.

So, here are the veteran champions who have shown that age is no barrier to tennis glory since the game entered the open era in 1968.

Ken Rosewall

The Australian is the oldest Grand Slam winner of either gender after he took his home tournament with a 7-6 6-3 7-5 victory over Malcolm Anderson at the age of 37 years, two months and a day.

He won eight singles slams, three of which came after his 35th birthday, having won the 1970 US Open and also collected the 1971 Australian Open when he became the first player to win one of the game’s greatest prizes without losing a set.

Rosewall was also the oldest player to feature in a final when he progressed through at the 1974 US Open, but it all ended in tears as he was able to win just two games against Jimmy Connors.

But his place in the game’s history was guaranteed and his nine Grand Slam doubles titles should not be sniffed at either.

Roger Federer

Three players have dominated the men’s game in recent years and Roger Federer has been the one who has come closest to threatening Rosewall’s record.

The Swiss superstar has 20 Grand Slam titles to his name and he was 36 years five months and seven days old when he won the 2018 Australian Open, beating Marin Cilic 2-6 7-6 3-6 6-3 6-1.

The nearest he has come to bettering that was when he lost in five sets to Djokovic in the 2019 Wimbledon final.

Rafael Nadal

Spanish star Rafael Nadal moved up to third in the list with his memorable victory over Daniil Medvedev in the 2022 Australian Open, when he staged a remarkable recovery to claim a 2-6 6-7 6-4 6-4 7-5 victory.

That took Nadal to a record 21st Grand Slam success – Federer and Djokovic have both won 20 – and the success came when he was 35 years, seven months and 14 days old.

He will be looking for his 14th success at the French Open this year, but success there would still not be enough for him to leapfrog his great rival Federer.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams became the oldest female Grand Slam winner when she beat her sister Venus 6-4 6-4 in the final of the Australian Open in 2017 at the age of 35 years, four months and 14 days.

That was her 23rd triumph in Grand Slams, but the search for another that would tie Margaret Court’s record has so far proved unconquerable as she has reached four top finals since that victory in Melbourne and lost the lot.

Andres Gimeno

Before Nadal, Spain’s oldest winner was Andres Gimeno – who perhaps inspired by Rosewall defying his age in Melbourne a few months earlier – won the 1972 French Open in Paris.

Gimeno, who was 34 years, nine months and 19 days old at the time, saw off Patrick Proisy 4-6 6-3 6-1 6-1.

He became the oldest player to win their first Slam and it came after he was beaten by local favourite Rod Laver in the Australian Open three years earlier.

A vastly experienced journalist, Ian has worked the beat on a number of local newspapers and covers a number of different sports for the Racing Post
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