Neither of them is over 35 years old. One of them played in ATP World Tour events just months ago; the other did so last year. But none of that will keep recently retired tennis players Andy Roddick, 31, and James Blake, 33, from joining a circuit of senior players.
The pair will be playing in the PowerShares Series, a touring set of one-day tournaments featuring tennis legends such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl. By joining the tour, Roddick could eventually get a chance to play alongside his former coach, Jimmy Connors.
We will pause here to acknowledge that any of the people listed above would make short work of us on any court, under any conditions. And it can be debated that the PowerShares Series isn’t a traditional senior tour, as its minimum age requirement is that players be just 30.
But we also confess to a moment of dubious shock after reading this headline in The Los Angeles Times: “Andy Roddick, James Blake join senior tennis tour.”
“I am looking forward to playing on the PowerShares circuit,” Roddick says, in a report on the Tennis site. “Having a chance to stay connected with tennis and compete on a limited basis through events like these fits perfectly with my life these days.”
A look at the PowerShares site shows that it features a Tennis article identifying it as “the newly-named senior circuit” last year, when it changed its name from the Champions Series. The tour was founded in 2005 by a group that includes former tennis star Jim Courier, who plays in many events.
If you’re wondering about the age cutoff for other senior tours, so were we:
In tennis, the ATP Champions Tour requires that players be retired and meet career criteria, such as holding a world No. 1 ranking or being a Grand Slam finalist.
While some sources report the Champions Tour requires that players are at least 35, Roddick is scheduled to play a tour event in early 2014, when he’ll still be 31. The Champions Tour is also said to require a player be at least two years past their retirement; details about its policies weren’t available for review at the time of this post.
In professional golf, the standard minimum age to join a senior tour is 50.