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44 Year Old Almost Wins ATP Match In Tokyo

One of the oldest players in ATP history almost won a match at the Tokyo Open today. 44 year old Toshihide Matsui and his doubles partner Kaito Uesugi lost a heartbreaker to Joran Vliegen and Sander Gille 63 67 8-10 as wildcard entries. Matsui has a 4-2 ATP match record in his pro career which began in 2001.

His career best ranking is 261 which he achieved in 2006. Currently, Matsui is ranked 1701 in doubles. In his career Matsui has earned $344,329 primarily on the Challenger, Futures and ITF circuits.

Leander Paes won a Davis Cup doubles match at age 46 in 2020 with Rohan Bopanna against Croatia’s Mate Pavic and Franko Skugor 36 67 75. Pavic was ranked 15 at the time and Skugor was 32, Paes was ranked 115 while Bopanna was ranked 37. That was actually the last match or the career of Paes.

The oldest man to win an ATP singles match was Ivo Karlovic at age 42 in 2021 vs Pablo Andujar in Delray Beach 63 57 64., matching Jimmy Connors who won a match in 1995 also at age 42.

Surely, after coming so close to victory today, Matsui will continue his pro tennis career as he is still competitive with the best in the world, even at age 44. Vliegen and Gille qualified for the main draw of Tokyo Open.

Update: IN 1975, the 46 year old Torben Ulrich still held an ATP ranking and played four singles matches but lost all four – to Bob Carmichael in Jackson, Mississippi, Ismail El Shafel in Carlsbad, Jamie Fillol Sr in Charlotte, and finally the unranked Henry Bunis 6-3 in the third in South Orange. Ulrich did win a doubles match at the US Open in 1975 with Jeff Borowiak, they defeated Ross Case and Geoff Masters 62 64 before losing to Syd Ball and Kim Warwick 64 46 36.

Ulrich did win two matches at age 45 in early 1974, he beat wildcard 52 year old Pancho Segura in Carlsbad 63 62 and 65th ranked Boro Jovanovic on Long Island 61 64.

Segura actually won a match in doubles at age 52 in Carlsbad with Roy Barth, beating Ross Case and Geoff Masters 64 36 64.

Pancho’s final ATP match was in Gstaad one month before his 55th birthday in 1976, he and Alvaro Fillol lost to Ricardo Cano and Belus Prajoux 57 26.

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  • Alan · October 3, 2022 at 10:22 am

    I met Leander at Newport. He is a legend. He is the poster child for all that is right about sports. He talked to every person that waited. His last match at the Aussie Open, in mixed doubles, was met with a long ovation, albeit by a not so large gathering. Shame, that the tennis channel would rather show Serena Williams breast feeding than give Leander, one of the all time greats, his due.

  • Scoop Malinowski · October 3, 2022 at 10:59 am

    Alan, nice words about an ultimate champion Leander Paes. I have been lucky to interview him many times for my books and other things like a Biofile, he is one of my all time favorite people in tennis. Always friendly, engaging, gracious, I adore the guy. I also played with Narendra Singh who was his Davis Cup captain and learned more insights. Wonderful fantastic guy. My lasting memory of Paes was at Miami Open, watching from front row behind his chair, next to coach Rick Leach. He and Stepanek were playing the Bryans, the same year they beat the Bryans in the AO final. Paes Step were down a set and break but came back and were up a break in the third, incredible match. On that changeover right in front of me, Step leaned over and told Paes, “I love you.” Paes then grabbed Stepanek’s head and kissed his forehead. I swear on the Holy Bible this ACTUALLY HAPPENED! Unforgettable moment. Paes was a joy to see and be around on and off the court. Paes Biofile, one of my favorites…



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