Don't stop me now: Stars defy decades to stay at top


Paris (AFP)

Roger Federer and Serena and Venus Williams will star at the Australian Open from Monday as their trophy-laden careers enter their fourth decades.

AFP Sport takes a look at nine other sports stars who are still going strong in 2020 -- with some even entering a fifth decade.

Kazuyoshi Miura

-- Former Japan striker Kazuyoshi Miura, who turns 53 next month, renewed his contract with Yokohama FC this week to extend his record as the world's oldest professional footballer.

"King Kazu" will kick off his 35th career season this year.

Miura, who has played for Yokohama FC since 2005, has said he won't hang up his boots until he turns 60.

In 2017, Miura surpassed football's previous professional longevity record and became the oldest player to score a competitive goal in a professional match. Both records were previously held by English legend Stanley Matthews.

Miura left Japan for Brazil in 1982 and signed a contract with Santos FC in 1986 to make his professional debut.

He made his Japan debut in 1990 and scored 55 goals in 89 games for the national side.

Bernhard Langer

-- 62 years old and still going strong on the PGA seniors tour, Germany's Langer was Masters champion in 1985 and 1993. He was also runner-up at the British Open in 1981 and 1984.

He has since captured 40 titles on the senior tour, winning twice in 2019, including the British Senior Open.

Langer was joint-leader after the first round of the senior season-opening event in Hawaii on Thursday.

Laura Davies

-- British golfer Davies turned pro in 1985 and has captured four majors as well as titles in four different decades, taking her career total to 87.

Davies, a former world number one, is also a five-time Solheim Cup winner.

On the seniors tour, Davies is an LPGA Championship winner and US Open champion.

She will start her fifth decade on tour at the Victoria Open in February.

Gianluigi Buffon

-- Veteran Italian goalkeeper Buffon, 41, made his debut for Parma in 1995 before moving to Juventus where he spent 17 years.

After a season at Paris Saint-Germain, he returned to Juventus last summer.

He has won nine Serie A titles and the Coppa Italia four times and was also a World Cup winner in 2006.

For clubs and country, Buffon has played in 1,086 games.

Fernando Rodney

-- A Dominican-American relief pitcher in Major League Baseball, Rodney will turn 43 in March just before the 2020 season gets underway, having started in the minor leagues with Detroit in 1997.

Last year, he helped the Washington Nationals win the World Series.

He was the oldest player in MLB last season once Japan's Ichiro Suzuki (45) retired.

Tom Brady

-- The New England quarterback played this past season at the age of 42 where his team lost in the first round of the play-offs to the Tennessee Titans. Brady first made his mark in college football at Michigan from 1996-1999.

He won his record sixth Super Bowl last year with New England.

Vince Carter

-- Carter is still playing at the age of 42 for the Atlanta Hawks and is the league's oldest active player. He is the only player in NBA history to have played in four different decades, having started with Toronto in 1998.

Zdeno Chara

-- In the NHL, Slovakian defenceman Chara of the Boston Bruins is the oldest active player and turns 43 in March.

At 2.06m (6ft 9in) he's also tallest person to ever play in the NHL where he initially joined the New York Islanders in the 1996 draft.

Oksana Chusovitina

-- 44-year-old gymnast Chusovitina will take part in a record eighth Olympics in Tokyo this year.

She represented the Soviet Union, Unified Team, Uzbekistan and Germany before reverting to the Uzbek team in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Chusovitina competed in her first Olympics in 1992 in Barcelona having debuted at the world championships 12 months earlier.

In all, she has taken part in 16 world championships.

She was a team gold medallist at the 1992 Olympic Games and a three-time champion at the worlds.