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Daniel Nestor is 43 and making his record 28th Rogers Cup appearance this week.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

It was shortly after Vasek Pospisil and Daniel Nestor won their opening-round doubles match over a couple of the tour's young pups, Jack Sock and Nick Kyrgios, that the matter of Nestor's extreme longevity came up.

Nestor is 43 and making his record 28th Rogers Cup appearance this week. For comparative purposes, consider that Denis Shapovalov, the youngest player entered in the tournament at 17, was a precocious one year old when Nestor won a gold medal for Canada in men's doubles at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Next month, Nestor will make his sixth Olympic appearance in Rio de Janeiro, replacing Milos Raonic in the doubles draw.

Sitting beside Pospisil at a postmatch news conference, Nestor – who has the dry delivery of an experienced stand-up comic – said he was excited by the chance to play in the Olympics with his younger countryman.

"Being 20 years older than everyone else at the game doesn't excite me," Nestor said with a laugh. "That kind of stuff is a little bit embarrassing at times."

Well, it shouldn't be.

There was nothing remotely embarrassing about the collective performance of tennis's older generation this week at the Rogers Cup.

A pair of 37-year-olds, Ivo Karlovic and Radek Stepanek, made the round of 16 in men's singles. Of the eight men who advanced to the quarter-finals in singles play, five were either 30 already or are turning 30 within the next calendar year. Compared to previous eras, when players such as Boris Becker or Bjorn Borg were at the height of their games in their late teens and early 20s, the current generation of players are collectively reaching their peaks at an older age and then working harder to stay at the top longer.

It was the primary reason Roger Federer cited this week when he decided to skip the rest of the season because of a knee injury.

At 34, Federer believes he can still be a viable force on the tour for years to come and physically wanted to give himself a chance to do so.

Federer's Swiss countryman, 31-year-old Stan Wawrinka, noted how his big breakthrough didn't come until after his 28th birthday. For an earlier generation, that would be well past their 'best-before' date.

"If I look at my career, in a way it is easier now with the confidence that I have, and with what happened the last two years," said Wawrinka, who won the Australian Open in 2014 and the French Open last year.

"For me I never expect to have that career, to win that [many] matches, to be that high, so I can only enjoy. I want to keep winning, keep trying to stay where I am in the ranking. For me, there is only positive if I look in my career."

The second-seeded Wawrinka advanced to Saturday's semi-finals with a straight-sets victory over 30-year-old Kevin Anderson of South Africa, where he will face Kei Nishikori of Japan, 26. Nishikori, seeded No. 3, defeated the youngest quarter-finalist, Bulgaria's Grigor Dmitrov, 25, in three sets.

In the top half of the draw, the 25-year-old Raonic was scheduled to play the final match of the Friday night session against Gael Monfils who, two months shy of his 30th birthday, is playing some of the most inspired tennis of his career.

The winner will play either top-seeded Novak Djokovic, 29, or the 30-year-old Czech Tomas Berdych, who were scheduled to meet in the other quarter-final.

The Bryan brothers, Mike and Bob, who were seeded first in the doubles draw, still have their baby-faced demeanour. Now 38, the Bryans are still the third and fourth-ranked doubles players in the world, even after losing in the quarters Friday.

What's their secret?

"Everyone's just taking care of their bodies better," Mike Bryan said. "Everyone's way more professional. Everyone's got a team behind them. They're eating the right things. They're doing all the recovery – the ice baths, the massage, the stretching, everyone's all in. It's putting in hours and hours to take care of your body, which adds up to a longer career.

"It's a mental thing too," added his brother Bob. "Back in the day, when guys were retiring at 30, guys thought, 'okay, that's it.' Now, you see Nestor setting the bar for us. We're going to retire at 38 or 39 and it'll feel early. You feel like you're leaving something on the table, after what he's done."

According to Wawrinka, life at the top of the tour is pretty good – and he wouldn't want to be doing anything else.

"I'm still enjoying what I'm doing, and that's the most important thing, to keep the passion of what you're doing," Wawrinka said. "That helps you to go out on the practice court every day. I love to come to the tournaments, to travel, and to keep trying to win matches. That's the only reason why I can still be where I am now."

Surprisingly, the one thing that never changes, no matter how young or old you are, is dealing with nerves, suggested Mike Bryan.

"Those never go away," he said. "You'd think they would if you played more and more, but the champions always just want to win and that adds that extra intensity and nervousness."

"The harder you work, the calmer you feel in the big moments," Bob Bryan added. "It's when you haven't put the work in, when the doubt creeps in.

"As far as the crowds go, we don't see the people in the crowds anymore. We can focus on the ball and tune everything else out. It's just that feeling of wanting to win.

"If it doesn't feel important, then you wouldn't be here."

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