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Roger Federer and Serena Williams making 30s the golden age of tennis

"Live young," urges the advertising slogan for the water company that supplies refreshment for the players at Wimbledon. Actually, as Serena Williams and Roger Federer have been showing the past fortnight, more appropriate for this tournament would be "age is no barrier."

Just a couple months shy of turning 34, Serena Williams became the oldest Wimbledon women's singles champion of modern times, as well as the oldest female winner at any of the four majors, by fending off Garbine Muguruza, a 21-year-old from Spain, on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Federer, whose 34th birthday is next month, will become Wimbledon's oldest men's singles champion of the professional era if he can overcome his 28-year-old adversary, Novak Djokovic, in Sunday's final.

Forget the cult of youth. Here in southwest London, we have the cult of the 33-year-old. Confirmation of that came from the sighting of Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of American Vogue, the inspiration for the book and film "The Devil Wears Prada" and Federer's most committed supporter.

On Saturday, Wintour was in Williams' guests' box on Centre Court. In vogue this weekend and maybe in Vogue next month, as for the past two weeks on the grass, this pair of thirty-somethings has been destroying some of the tennis orthodoxies about age, ambition and success.

"These two 33-year-olds are inspirational for a lot of the older players on the tour," John McEnroe said. "Serena and Federer have got other players thinking, 'I can get better with age? Really? I thought that was only wine.'"

Such was the level of Federer's performance in Friday's semifinal victory over Andy Murray, 28, that Bjorn Borg suggested the Swiss was playing his best tennis in a decade.

Federer himself called it one of the best matches of his career. Can he reproduce that level against Djokovic?

Before Federer's shot at the record, the oldest man to win Wimbledon was Arthur Ashe, who was 31 when he became the champion in 1975. The oldest male singles champion at any of the majors was Ken Rosewall, who was 37 when he won the 1972 Australian Open.

It was Boris Becker, once a teenage Wimbledon champion and now Djokovic's coach, who said that time on the tennis road should be measured in "dog years," with the implication being players age at a much faster rate than the civilians seated around Centre Court or on the Hill.

It's not unknown for a player in his or her mid-twenties to experience a mid-life crisis. That's when Bjorn Borg retired, when many, McEnroe included, thought he had more slams left in him.

Monica Seles, a former Wimbledon finalist, once spoke of the professional tennis player's great horror of hitting his or her "Dirty Thirties," and the locker room consensus used to be that an athlete's power, aura and general sense of self-worth would dissipate upon turning 30 -- if not before.

Now it feels as though the gift shop inside the All England Club is somehow missing a retail opportunity by not selling greeting cards with the message, "33 is the new 23."

Maybe the gift shop could go lower still to "the new 21." That was Federer's age in summer 2003, when he lifted the golden Challenge Cup for the first time and when Williams, also 21, won the Venus Rosewater Dish for the second time. Twelve years later, this pair are both still at the top of the grass-court game, and we are one more Federer victory from this being 2003 all over again.

There is no doubt tennis, as a whole, is getting older, with players peaking at a more advanced age. Certainly, the 33-year-olds have done considerably better than any teenagers in the two singles draws.

To continue the theme of players staying competitive deep into their thirties, 34-year-old Martina Hingis, a former teenage ladies' singles champion, has made two Wimbledon doubles finals in the women's and mixed competitions this weekend.

This year, Becker has been celebrating 30 years since he took the 1985 title at the age of 17 (he would retain the prize in 1986 as an 18-year-old), and before this Wimbledon, Maria Sharapova recalled being a "skinny girl with a baby face" when she became champion at 17 in 2004.

Becker remains the most recent teenager to win the men's title, and Sharapova is the most recent teenage champion in the women's event. With the way the game is going, you wonder whether someone under 20 will ever hold the trophy again.

Key to Williams' and Federer's longevity has been their maintaining and even building on their physical capabilities.

"Serena is in the best shape of her life. She's moving so well," said Lindsay Davenport, a former Wimbledon champion.

Recently, Federer didn't look so fluid on the court, and his back caused him considerable discomfort in 2013, the year he lost in the second round of Wimbledon. Two years on, he has bounced back to look stronger and fitter than ever.

This Wimbledon is the 63rd consecutive slam that has featured Federer in the main draw, a record for both sexes.

Note and admire how Federer and Williams have helped themselves by not overplaying throughout their careers and by thinking carefully about the schedule of tournaments they commit to. In Federer's case, that has all been by choice. In Williams' career, it has been a mix of choice and circumstance (injuries and off-court traumas have kept her away from the court for long chunks of time).

Does money help here? Perhaps. It's easier to keep your body young when you can afford a team of people to look after you and when you have the option of traveling by private jet.

Until Saturday, Martina Navratilova was the oldest woman to have won a major in the professional era. She was 33 yeas old when she won the 1990 Wimbledon title but a few days younger than Williams.

Navratilova was the one who introduced sports science to the women's game. But the science has come a long way since then. Great amounts of knowledge, time, energy and expense have gone into keeping Federer and Williams moving with bounce and energy and still striking the ball with great power and authority.

But Federer and Williams wouldn't be where they are this prize-giving weekend -- on Centre Court -- if it weren't for their motivation. History drives the pair of them.

Williams' friend, Andy Roddick, called her "obsessed" with history, and victory over Muguruza took her to 21 majors, just one short of Steffi Graf's modern-era record of 22; she's now just three shy of Margaret Court's all-time mark of 24.

The latest Wimbledon triumph also meant Williams completed the Serena Slam -- for the second time in her career, she holds all four majors simultaneously -- and put herself three quarters of the way to the calendar Grand Slam, which hasn't been accomplished by a player of either sex since Graf ripped through 1988.

"I'm having so much fun out here," said Williams, who left Centre Court with the Venus Rosewater Dish balanced on her head. "I never dreamt that I would still be out here [at my age] and still winning."

Against Djokovic, Federer, for his part, will be attempting to win his first Grand Slam in three years, which would take him to an unmatched eight Wimbledon titles and a record 18 majors.

"Serena wants to be remembered as the greatest ever," Davenport observed, and Williams is certainly going the right way about doing that. Likewise for Federer.

Right now, there is no better age to be than 33.

Next summer, though, given the way those two are playing, that golden, optimum age could be 34.