top of page


Tonight, five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams will step out onto centre court to play her first round match at the ripe old age of 43.

Being in your 40s in most parts of life isn’t considered “old” but to still be playing professional tennis at that age is a rarity.

Venus isn’t phased by this and says she wants to keep playing at this level until she is 50.

"It's never been done before so if there is anyone who could do it, it would be me,” she told reporters before the tournament.

And there is reason for her optimism. Although she has only played five matches this year, she competed strongly at the recent Birmingham event on grass.

She defeated world no.48 Camila Giorgi in a third set tiebreaker before taking world no.17 Jelena Ostapekno to three sets. Jelena would go on to win the tournament.

Tonight she faces former world no.3 Elena Svitolina who is on the comeback trail after a break to have her first child in October. Svitolina did make the quarter-finals of the French Open in May but grass isn’t her favourite surface.

Venus, the world no.558, will be hoping for just her third Grand Slam match win since reaching her 40s.

However, if she does beat Svitolina she won’t be breaking a record as Martina Navratilova made the second round at Wimbledon in 2004 aged 47.

Venus is the only player in the singles draw in her 40s but in the men’s doubles draw there are a number of fellow quadragenarians.

43 years old

Rohanna Bopanna from India is the oldest player at Wimbledon beating Venus by three months. He will line up in the doubles with Australia’s Matthew Ebden as the sixth seeds. If Bopanna wins the title, he will be the oldest men’s player to win a Grand Slam title beating his compatriot Leander Paes who won the US Open mixed doubles aged 42.

41 years old

Jean-Julian Rojer lines up as the seventh seed in the doubles with his partner Marcelo Arevolo from El Salvador. The Dutchman became the oldest men’s doubles Grand Slam winner when, aged 40, he won the French Open in 2022.

Nicholas Mahut is best known for his epic match against John Inser in 2010 but he’s also had a successful doubles career winning five Grand Slams. The Frenchman will join Brit Lloyd Glasspool as the 11th seeds where he’ll be hoping to break further records with a Grand Slam win at 41 years old.

40 years old

Santiago Gonzalez from Mexico reached his singles peak in 2006 ranked no.155. However, in doubles he has had much success making a Grand Slam final and reached a career high ranking of no.13 this week. He will line up with Edouard Roger-Vasselin from France who turns 40 himself later this year. The pair, with a current combined age of 79, are the fifth seeds at the tournament.

Although these are the only players at Wimbledon in their 40s, these other men and women deserve plaudits for still playing on the tour.

Feliciano Lopez

Although Feliciano Lopez retired in Mallorca last week, his recent form must be noted. In his swansong year, the 41-year-old Spaniard played six tournaments to finish off his career. He had wins over Christopher Eubanks in Acapulco as well as Australia’s Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson on grass in Mallorca. It was a remarkable effort and a great way for the former world no.12 to go out.

Junri Namigata

The 40-year-old Japanese player has been on the tour since the year 2000 and reached a career high of 101 in doubles and 105 in singles. She is currently ranked 356 in doubles and 654 in singles and the fact she is playing regularly in both is remarkable in itself. She made three finals on the ITF tour in the last 12 months in doubles and has racked up 11 wins on the singles court this year alone.

Toshihide Matsui

Another Japanese player defying the years is 45-year-old Toshihide Matsui. He is ranked a remarkable 155 in the world in doubles and still has a singles ranking of 1760 (the oldest player to do so). He and his 28-year-old doubles partner Kaito Uesugi made three Challenger finals this year, including in Puerto Rico just last month. Although Matsui has yet to play at a Grand Slam (here’s hoping he can make his debut one day!), he played Davis Cup in 2006-2010 and was in Team Japan for the ATP Cup in 2020 and 2021.

Rikard Roos

Although Matsui is the oldest player in the singles rankings, 49-year-old Rikard Roos holds that record when it comes to doubles. The Swedish player is ranked 2106 in the world and you have to go back 28 years to find his career high of 1004 in 1995. So how did Rikard end up on the rankings? Well, he actually didn’t win a match! He and his partner William Rejchtman Vinciguerra (who is the 16-year-old nephew of former tour player Andreas) had a walkover in their first round match of the ITF 15k event in Malmo. Although he is ranked because of technicality (and will likely drop off when those points run out in August), nothing can take away Rikard’s record!

All these players, from Venus playing on centre court to Rikard getting some luck at a small ITF tournament, deserve plaudits.

To be playing professional sport at an age when there is likely to be some great physical and mental struggles and barriers is a remarkable achievement.

This Wimbledon fortnight may see some of these players go on to achieve greatness and prove that age is becoming less of a barrier as time in professional tennis.


bottom of page