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Stan Wawrinka during the 2016 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.
Stan Wawrinka was always a good player. Yet, he became a great player after he turned 28—an age that often signals the beginning of the end of a tennis career.
Wawrinka is one of the few late bloomers in tennis. These are players who turned pro more than a decade ago, but they didn’t see their best results until late in their careers.
This does not include Serena Williams. Sure, she’s won more Grand Slams after 30 than anyone woman in the Open Era. But she bloomed early. Williams won her first Slam at age 17, went through a drought and blossomed again.
Unlike solid veterans such as Tommy Robredo, late bloomers do more than merely outlast contemporaries. They peak later.
The players on this list are active and range from those who have never broken through to the top 50 to others like Roberta Vinci who this year, at age 33, reached the top 10 for the first time.
These late bloomers have outlasted phenoms who blew by them in the rankings when they were younger. Despite experiencing tour ups and downs, these players saved their best balling for later.
The following are the top late bloomers in tennis today: