Venus Williams, Andy Murray, Sara Errani, Stan Wawrinka.

In addition to reaching amazing heights in the rankings and at the Slams and being some of the biggest names in tennis today, Venus, Andy, Sara and Stan are among the veterans who don’t seem to have a retirement plan.

Beyond pride, what drives them to keep going despite the challenges, injuries, rehab, doubts, exhaustion and relentless attempts to get back on track?

Doesn’t the cycle of ascending, tumbling and starting over wear on them?

Get on board the rollercoaster!

Sir Andy 

Photo : Tennis World

On March 22, Andy Murray was ousted from the Miami Open in the first round.

Sir Andy, who turns 36 on May 15, has three majors. He spent 12 years in the Top 20 (August 2006 to July 2018) and more than 11 in the Top 10 (July 6, 2009, to October 29, 2017, except for five short weeks in fall 2014).

Read and listen: Mixed Miami results for Canadians

He was World No.1 for 41 straight weeks, from November 7, 2016, to August 20, 2017.

Here’s a recap of his ride up and down the rankings.

World ranking

August 13, 2017: 1

July 15, 2018: 839

June 29, 2019: 227

September 29, 2019: 503

September 13, 2020: 110

March 27, 2023: 52

Stan, the Man

Photo : Georgios Kefalas/Keystone

A few weeks ago, three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka exited Indian Wells after the round of 16. The 38-year-old was an almost constant presence in the Top 20 between September 2010 and May 2018, including five straight years in the Top 10, from May 2013 to May 2018.

Here’s a recap of his ride up and down the rankings.

World Ranking

July 2, 2017: 3

June 10, 2018: 263

February 9, 2020: 13

May 8, 2022: 361

March 27, 2023: 87

Signora Sara

Photo : Cole Burston/Toronto Star

Sara Errani, who turns 36 on April 29, is currently competing in the San Luis Potosi Open in Mexico. She was a member of the Top 10 for almost two years, between June 10, 2012, and March 30, 2014, and of the Top 20 for four years from June 2012 to May 2016. At the Slams, she fought in one singles final and won five doubles titles.

Here’s a recap of her ride up and down the rankings.

World Ranking

March 13, 2016: 16

October 8, 2017: 280

July 22, 2018: 72

June 9, 2019: 366

July 18, 2021: 104

June 12, 2022: 213

March 27, 2023: 96

Queen V

Photo : Hannah Peters/Getty

Last but not least is 42-year-old Venus Williams, who needs no introduction. She has yet to tell us what her future holds, but just this past January she was battling on the courts in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Ranked World No. 5 in early 2018, she dropped to No. 1,556 in August 2022. She’s moved up to No. 672, but how long will she keep going?

The answer lies with her, of course. On March 23, she said she may be back for the clay court season.

Here’s a recap of her ride up and down the rankings.

World Ranking

June 20, 2010: 2

February 12, 2012: 137

January 14, 2018: 5

August 7, 2022: 1 556

March 27, 2023: 672

I can’t help but admire the players who keep at it, either out of passion or necessity.

Federer recently bowed out, and a second member of the illustrious men’s triad may soon follow. No one could ever imagine either of them dropping out of a tournament after only a round or two.

Read also: Equal footing on the WTA Tour

But Venus, Sara, Stan, Andy and others see things differently.

They aren’t ready to get off the ride just yet. 

the short story of a long match

Photos : Getty

211 minutes, 268 hard-earned points and 2 determined (and tough!) opponents.

On March 25, in the second round of the Miami Masters, Hubert Hurkacz and Thanasi Kokkinakis played the longest best-of-three match of the season.

Hurkacz saved five match points to win 6-7(10), 7-6(7), 7-6(6) in 3:31.

Photo : Peter Staples/ATP

They each secured 18 service games and gave up one. In those 36 games, there were only 11 break points.

And while a long match means competitors get tired and start running out of steam, both Hubert and Thanasi stayed focused. The Australian hit 23 aces versus 21 for Hurkacz, who had only two tiny double faults compared to four for his rival.

Read more from Paul Rivard.

Kokkinakis posted 51 winners and 35 unforced errors, and Hurkacz had 41 winners and 28 unforced errors. Pretty solid for a 268-point bout.

As it turns out, that 268th point, which was a winner for Hurkacz, was reflective of the match itself. After 21 quality shots, Kokkinakis just missed the line in an attempt to tie things at 7-7.

Image : TennisTV

It was a great show and cruel outcome for Thanasi, who certainly deserved to win as much as his opponent.

Here’s a condensed version:

In case you’re wondering whether they set a record, they didn’t.

There have been much, much longer matches.

Read also: Auger-Aliassime surprised by Cerundolo, Andreescu injured in Miami

In November 2021, an ITF M15 quarterfinal in Cancun, Mexico, won by Giles Hussey (GB) over Constantin Bittoun Kouzmine (FRA) went on for 4 hours and 41 minutes (6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(4)).

Just a few months later, in January 2022, their seemingly unbeatable record was broken by more than 35 minutes at the same venue and at a tournament of the same level when Gage Brymer (USA) defeated Luis Patino (MEX) 6-7(9), 7-6(5), 7-6(4) in 5:15.

Source : Men’s tennis forums

But don’t forget that there are no ball persons at tournaments of that level, so players have to collect the balls themselves between points or between serves. Those matches always take a little longer.


Image : Tennis Channel

On March 27, Bianca Andreescu and Tennis Channel host Prakash Amritraj got a downright fluffy surprise on set.

During an interview after Bianca’s win over Sofia Kenin, Coco Andreescu wanted to put her two cents in.

Image : Tennis Channel

Cuteness ensued.



Twitter : @paul6rivard

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