In modern sports, thirty is the new twenty
In an age when sport has become immensely demanding, challenging and competitive, the tenacity of most sports stars is believed to gradually dwindle once they hit the dreaded barrier of thirty years of age.
This has been evident in many sports, football and cricket being two notable examples.
But of course, there are always exceptions to this principle. The twin triumphs of Serena Williams and Roger Federer, both 30, at Wimbledon 2012 have defied this belief by exhibiting their will, desire and resilience despite going through lulls in their illustrious careers in recent years to win Grand Slams #14 and #17 respectively.
Even though the body is presumed to ‘slow down’ at the big 3-0, Federer and Williams have shown that it’s more about what goes on in the head. If the hunger to win is there, it doesn’t matter if you’re in your 20s or 30s.
What these two champions have confirmed is that age is primarily a number and that if one has the appetite to win, there’s no stopping them. While there have been several instances of older superstars showing a lack of desire and subsequently fading into the oblivion, Serena and Federer continue to raise the bar and smash records.
After her Wimbledon triumph, Serena Williams was asked: “Is thirty years the new twenty?”
“Oh of course it is, like hello…where’ve you been?!” she replied.
Yes, one can argue that the longevity of an individual depends on the sport he/she is involved in but no matter what the sport is, the body is put through the rigours of modern day carnage which also involves the challenges of constant travel and adapting to different time zones through the year.
Football is one sport where a string of stars, predominantly Brazilian, have proved to be fatalities of success and fame, and thus have only themselves to blame for plunging from a position of invincibility to a disgraceful level of mediocrity. Ronaldinho, Adriano and Ronaldo (The Phenomenon) are three high-profile stars whose respective careers fell apart due to a lack of motivation as they approached the barrier of 30 years of age.
However, at the other end of the spectrum in Football, you have strong-willed players like Andrea Pirlo (Italy/Juventus) who has gone through some form of renaissance at age 33 having won three man-of-the-match honours at Euro 2012 and was easily one of the best players of the competition. Thirty-six year old Clarence Seedorf (Holland/Botafogo) and thirty-seven year old veteran Alessandro Del Piero (Italy/ex-Juventus) are other notable stars who have defied age and trudged along successfully in their respective careers.
Several icons in cricket such as Sachin Tendulkar still continue to stir emotions playing for India at age 39, showing no signs of slowing down.
The achievements of these individuals show that it’s all about the desire to continue or rather, how passionate and motivated one is to push on, to sustain success at the highest level irrespective of age.
Thirty is definitely the new twenty and Roger and Serena, you’ve aced it in your own inimitable style.
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