Evidently 45 is the new 25.
Nearly 27 years after four-time Grand Slam quarterfinalist Younes El Aynaoui won his first ITF match, the Moroccan earned another ATP point with a win over 23-year-old Bernd Kossler at a $15,000 Futures tournament in Bahrain on Tuesday.
You read that right: Kossler, 23, wasn’t born when El Aynaoui was already winning matches on the professional circuit.
But it was the super-veteran who took out the world No. 866th-ranked Austrian in just over two hours to earn his win since 2010, when he won a round at the ATP World Tour 250 event in Doha. El Aynaoui is also still coaching.
While El Aynaoui lost his next match against Viktor Durasovic in a tight two-setter, his three wins—he won two to advance through qualifying—are pretty impressive for a man who hasn’t played in a major main draw since the 2005 US Open.
For those who don’t remember the Moroccan, El Aynaoui is perhaps best-known for one of the greatest Grand Slam quarterfinals ever, when he lost 21-19 in the fifth set to Andy Roddick at the 2003 Australian Open.
Fresh off of a four-set upset over top-seeded Lleyton Hewitt in the round of 16, El Aynaoui pushed Roddick to what was the longest fifth set in Grand Slam history (at the time). El Aynaoui would reach his career high of No. 13 that year.
It seems laughable now, but back then, 31 seemed old.
“He's 31-years-old, he's out there five hours, and he's still standing at the end,” a 20-year-old Roddick said after the match. “It's very impressive. I don't think I'll be able to do that when I'm 31.”
Roddick would retire at the age of 30 in 2012, while it looks like El Aynaoui still has plenty of game.