After an impressive run he had in Indian Wells and Miami, Roger Federer claimed the opening two Masters 1000 titles for the first time since 2006, and by doing that he achieved some very serious feats, including age records that will be very hard to beat by anybody in the years to come! Namely, before Indian Wells 2017, Andre Agassi was the oldest winner of Masters 1000 title, lifting the trophy in Cincinnati 2004 at the age of 34 years and 3 months. No one even came close to performing anything similar in the previous 15 seasons, and it took another 11 years to get another 34-year-old champion when Roger Federer conquered Cincinnati just after 34th birthday.
Nevertheless, Swiss maestro raised the bar even higher this season, finally managing to win his first titles following that success in Cincinnati two summers ago, and at the age of 35 years and 7 months he is by far the oldest winner of Masters 1000 trophy, and that record may stay in his possession for at least a decade, or even more! In this analysis, we will give the answer about the oldest winners of Masters 1000 titles, and what is the trend in the next few years, when everything will probably become much different from how it was in the past thanks to big transformations in the world of men's tennis.
Masters 1000 series was launched in 1990, as the pinnacle of the newly-formed ATP Tour, and it came just in the perfect time for the new generation players born in 1970 or later, namely Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras and Michael Chang.
Together with Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg, who were still very young, it was very hard to see some older players burst into the scene and grab some Masters titles in those initial years. For those who turned 29 or 30 was very hard to achieve anything bigger in the Masters 1000 series throughout the 90's, and things became even tougher for the "veterans" in the early 2000's when a string of great players born in the 80's (Roger Federer, Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Marat Safin, David Nalbandian, Juan Carlos Ferrero and others).
Like that wasn't enough, Rafael Nadal started his reign in 2005, backed by Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, who are a year younger than him, and from 2005 it became virtually impossible to see any player at the age of 29 or more who could crack the big 4 dominance and beat their domination.
Roger Federer turned 29 in August 2010, celebrating that by winning Cincinnati title, and he won 9 Masters since than, topping Andre Agassi who stayed on 8 Masters crowns after 29th birthday (7 after turning 30, which is impressive).
During the 90's, we had 90 Masters 1000 tournaments, and only in 4 there was a winner who was at least 29, which just shows how good the young guns were. In 1993, Mikael Pernfors surprised everybody by lifting the title in Canada, just after turning 30, to become the only 30-year-old winner in that decade! Thomas Muster, Petr Korda, and Andre Agassi added 3 titles at the age of 29, but some big changes were just around the corner, mainly thanks to Agassi.
Between 2000-2004, we can trace 10 players that achieved this feat, with Andre holding 7 spots on that list! In Monte Carlo 2000, Cedric Pioline became only the second 30-year-old player with Masters title, and less than a year later Andre Agassi followed him, going all the way in Indian Wells to grab the first out of 7 trophies after turning 30.
In those years, American played impressive tennis, becoming world number 1 again and successfully battling with young guns, 10 or more years younger than him. Between Indian Wells 2001 and Paris 2003, Andre was the only player on our list, and his last Masters 1000 title came in Cincinnati 2004 when he was 34 years and 3 months old.
As we already said, it was the mission impossible to see some new players between 2005-2009, as the series was dominated by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, leaving no room for some older opponents to snap off anything from them.
In Indian Wells 2010, Ivan Ljubicic made a great run to be the last man standing, winning his lone Masters 1000 trophy as the second oldest player behind Agassi, just after turning 31. A few months later, Roger Federer lifted the trophy in Cincinnati, his first as the 29-year-old, and in the next two years he is the only player on our list, winning 4 additional crowns after turning 30. In Paris 2012, David Ferrer won his first and only Masters 1000 title, becoming only the 6th player who managed to do that as a 30-year-old, in what has been already the 207th Masters tournament since 1990.
2014 saw a returning of Roger Federer, he conquered two Masters 1000 events in Cincinnati and Shanghai on fast hard court surface, and the battle between him and Andre Agassi was on when he claimed Cincinnati in 2015 as well, at the age of 34 years and 16 days.
In the meanwhile, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray put themselves on the list of the players who won Masters title after turning 29, which was expected from the beginning knowing how good they were right from the teenage days, and it will be very interesting to see how far they can go in the years to come. Nadal's results in Masters 1000 series have been on a downfall after 2013, with just two titles under his name, and it will be interesting to see can he become the 7th player who clinched the crown after turning 30 (the first since Ferrer) in the following 3 clay court events, where he rulled supremely in the past.
As for Djokovic and Murray, they will both turn 30 before summer North American Masters. Being the world number 1 and 2 (despite their current form), it is very likely they will both become the 30-year-old winners, and it is just a question of how many titles they will win before they retire.
Players from younger generations (Marin Cilic is the only Masters 1000 winner born after 1987) are still not that good to goo all the way in such a deep field, including Kei Nishikori, Grigor Dimitrov, and Milos Raonic, and we could expect a lot more from both Djokovic and Murray in the years to come.
The list with all +29-year-old Masters 1000 winners, by chronological order (5 oldest winners are in bold) :
1993 Canada / Mikael Pernfors / 30y 17d 1997 Miami / Thomas Muster / 29y 5m 29d 1997 Stuttgart / Petr Korda / 29y 9m 4d 1999 Paris / Andre Agassi / 29y 6m 10d 2000 Monte Carlo / Cedric Pioline / 30y 10m 9d 2000 Stuttgart / Wayne Ferreira / 29y 1m 22d 2001 Indian Wells / Andre Agassi / 30y 10m 19d 2001 Miami / Andre Agassi / 30y 11m 4d 2002 Miami / Andre Agassi / 31y 11m 3d 2002 Rome / Andre Agassi / 32y 14d 2002 Madrid / Andre Agassi / 32y 5m 22d 2003 Miami / Andre Agassi / 32y 11m 2d 2003 Paris / Tim Henman / 29y 1m 28d 2004 Cincinnati / Andre Agassi / 34y 3m 11d 2010 Indian Wells / Ivan Ljubicic / 31y 10d 2010 Cincinnati / Roger Federer / 29y 14d 2011 Paris / Roger Federer / 30y 3m 5d 2012 Indian Wells / Roger Federer / 30y 7m 10d 2012 Madrid / Roger Federer / 30y 9m 6d 2012 Cincinnati / Roger Federer / 31y 11d 2012 Paris / David Ferrer / 30y 7m 2d 2014 Monte Carlo / Stan Wawrinka / 29y 24d 2014 Canada / Jo-Wilfried Tsonga / 29y 3m 25d 2014 Cincinnati / Roger Federer / 33y 10d 2014 Shanghai / Roger Federer / 33y 2m 5d 2015 Cincinnati / Roger Federer / 34y 16d 2016 Monte Carlo / Rafael Nadal / 29y 10m 15d 2016 Canada / Novak Djokovic / 29y 2m 10d 2016 Shanghai / Andy Murray / 29y 5m 2d 2016 Paris / Andy Murray / 29y 5m 23d 2017 Indian Wells / Roger Federer / 35y 7m 12d 2017 Miami / Roger Federer / 35y 7m 26d