The average age of retirement in the U.S. today is about 63 years old. But in the world of professional sports, the timeframe for a successful career is much more narrow. Most professional athletes start their sport when they are very young and grow their skills during their teen and even preteen years. The stress that professional sports puts on the body and mind should not be discounted. Tennis is one such example of extremely early retirement.
Serena Williams, the tennis legend, announced that she will be retiring from her tennis career at the age of 40. She explained that she wants to spend more time focusing on being a mom and her spirituality. One of her biggest goals is to expand her family and that is difficult to do when you’re traveling around the world kicking butt on the tennis court.
Athletes experience a much earlier retirement than other jobs because of the stress it puts on your body and because you typically start much younger than you otherwise would. Injury is one of the leading causes of early retirement. Intense practices and games lead to premature joint pain.
Tennis is also a sport that takes place on hard-concrete based courts. Spending years on this surface from the time that they are very young is very difficult on the body. Not to mention that playing professionally and staying at the top of your game takes complete mental focus, deep passion, and rigorous physical demands. It’s no wonder these guys retire early.
Tennis players are actually beginning to play for longer than they have in the past. The average age of retirement for professional players used to be 27. Now, players often play into their 30s and 40s because injuries are less common with current technologies and practices. So older players are playing longer; however, it makes it more difficult for younger players to break onto the scene.
There are several impressive tennis stars who retired before the age of 30. Ash Barty retired at age 25 at the peak of her career after several wins. She said she didn’t have the physical drive or emotional passion to keep up with the demands of the highly competitive sport.
Tennis is not the only sport that is known for early retirement ages. Most professional sports do not allow for players to play into their 40s and 50s. The average age of retirement for professional baseball players is 29, for basketball players is 28, and for football players is 27. Playing a sport professionally means putting your body on the line.
In addition to wearing down your body, professional sports are deeply competitive and even the best players of all time age out of them. Young players have the energy, excitement, and drive because they are just beginning and some older athletes retire before their careers begin to dip. It’s a constant cycle of legends living out their best years and then being replaced by the new generation.