14 Jul 2017 19:04 IST

Success does not carry an age

How long can you wait, or strive, for success?

Sam Querrey had to wait till his 42nd Grand Slam tennis tournament to reach the semi-final stage for the first time. He has done so in the ongoing Wimbledon. The 30-year-old is currently ranked 27th in the world and is the first American male to reach the last four stage of a Slam event since 2009. He grinded away on the Tour for 12 years before making headlines, and before tennis fans knew who he was. Till today it was “Querrey who?”

On the women’s side in this year’s Green Slam, the semi-finalists included Magdalena Rybarikova, a 28-year-old from Slovakia who was ranked 453 in the world in March this year. Before this year’s edition at the All England Club, she had eight first round exits from Wimbledon.

She could have easily called it quits last year. After the 2016 Wimbledon, Magdalena underwent a wrist surgery. This was immediately followed by another round of surgery, this time for her right knee. The tennis player was out of action for seven months. At the age of 27, well past her prime and plagued by injuries, Magdalena didn’t have much to look forward to. But the Slovakian made a comeback in the tour, playing the lowly ITF circuit. She won two tournaments in May and impressed with a first-round win at the French Open. In the run-up to the Wimbledon, she won two more tournaments in the ITF circuit. “I didn't expect I going to play that well, that I’m going to reach semi-final — but I did. You just have to believe,” Magdalena said at the press conference after her quarter-final match, in which she saw off American Coco Vandeweghe. Irrespective of her semi-final performance, Magdalena is assured of a top 50 ranking.

Age no bar

Surely, there is no age for success. Be it sports or business, some of the most inspiring stories in business are not of those who spun billion-dollar companies from their college rooms. The biggest discoveries came after years of hard work. Take a look at the following list — Sam Walton, Henry Ford, Charles Darwin, Stan Lee and Samuel Jackson. Each one of them tasted successes after they crossed 40.

Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart when he was 44-years-old. It’s said that the retail giant’s most exponential growth came after Sam had crossed the age of 60. That is the retirement age for the rest of us ordinary souls!

Likewise, Henry Ford revolutionised transport with his T car in 1908; he was 45. Samuel L Jackson was 43 in 1991 when Jungle Fever made him a household name in the US.

Let me conclude with a Pakistani cricketer whom I admire a lot. Misbah-ul-Haq was 27-years-old when he debuted for his national team in 2001, but success eluded him till the 2007 T20 World Cup finals, where he almost carried his team to victory against India. In 2013, at the age of 39, Misbah was the highest run getter in ODIs, ahead of Virat Kohli who is 14 years younger.

Misbah was not done. A year later, at the ripe age of 40 — as if he hadn’t proved his point yet — Misbah hit the fastest ever Test century off 56 delivers. The record was previously held by West Indian great Viv Richards. Under Misbah’s captaincy, Pakistan climbed to the number one rank in Tests in 2016. He is the most successful Test captain for his country. His last match was in May 2017. He was 42 years old.

Irrespective of Querrey’s and Magdalena’s performance in the semi-finals, the two have shown that success doesn’t have an age.