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Wimbledon: some age-related observations

by on July 8, 2013

We couldn’t let Wimbledon and yesterday’s terrific result pass without some age/tennis-related observations.

At 28, Marion Bartoli becomes the 5th oldest woman to become a first-time major winner in the Open Era which began in 1968.

Earlier in the Championship, Kimiko Date-Krumm (age 42) had been the oldest player in the Wimbledon draw in 2013 and then became the oldest woman to reach the third round at the tournament, since the Open Era began.

As a tournament, Wimbledon covers a range of ages from the junior event through to the Senior Gentlemen Invitation Doubles. Whilst the former offers a chance to spot the stars of the future, the latter offers former top players the chance to show off not just their tennis but their ability to quip with each other and entertain the audience.  Professional tennis is potentially a short career; I noticed Andy Murray talking after the final about having ‘a few more years’.

But perhaps my favourite story is this article on the official blog about the man (an older worker?) whose job is it to engrave the names of the winners on the trophies. Roman Zoltowski, 75, has done this job since 1979. He sets off to reach Wimbledon from Poland driving a vintage red open-topped MG. He can’t fly because his engraving tools are considered offensive weapons! He says:

“Sunday is stressful. You learn to switch off. You don’t talk. But this weekend is the highlight of my year. I’m not ready to retire and wear slippers yet. My year divides between before and after Wimbledons. It’s a special moment receiving the trophies after they’ve been presented to the players, sweaty fingerprints and all!”

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