Who are the youngest tennis players to win a Grand Slam? Coco Gauff, Rafael Nadal...
After winning her 3rd round game against the young Russian, the focus is once again on the American as she advances to the 4th round of Roland Garros.
Talk at Grand Slam tournaments often focuses on the so-called Next Gen of male tennis players, the young bucks who have for years been expected to put Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer out to pasture. Nadal of course is the ultimate competitor, but this last year has been difficult for the Spaniard with a problematic hip ultimately seeing him miss the French Open. On the other hand, we’ve seen in recent times the rise of his countryman, Carlos Alcaraz, who became the youngest ever world No. 1 at the age of 19-years-old. As for the women’s game, it could be argued that the Next Gen has already arrived. On Saturday, 19-year-old Coco Gauff defeated Russia’s 16-year-old, Mirra Andreeva, who is the youngest woman ever to reach the third round of a Grand Slam, a record previously held by Gauff. Along with players like Emma Raducanu who won the US Open, they represent some of the exciting new talent of the women’s game today, and will likely still be shining tomorrow.
Swiatek serves up a double-bagel
There’s no way we couldn’t mention the Polish star and current world No. 1., Iga Swiatek. At 22-years-old she continues to remind us why she’s the top seed. Indeed, just ask Wang Xinyu of China, who she defeated 6-0, 6-0 in 51 minutes to advance to the fourth round of Roland Garros. With that she became the first player in six years to double-bagel and opponent at the French Open. Incidentally, it was the second time she’s done so this season on clay.
Hingis the trail-blazer
When it comes to young champions, there’s really no comparison to arguably the greatest player in history to wield a racket in that age range, Martina Hingis. The Swiss won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 1997 at the age of 16 and added two more titles in Melbourne over the next two years to take her tally to five Grand Slams shortly after 18th birthday.
As well as being the youngest Grand Slam singles champion since Lottie Dod won Wimbledon in 1887, Hingis is the youngest Grand Slam champion in history (singles and doubles) after partnering Helena Sukova to the doubles title at Wimbledon in 1996 at the age of 15 years and nine months, pipping Dod, who was 15 and 285 days when she won Wimbledon for the first time, by a few days.
The top three of youngest male champions in history were all active in the 1980s. Michael Chang holds the overall record, the American winning the 1989 French Open at the age of 17 and three months, a tournament memorable for his bizarre victory over world number one Ivan Lendl, when the youngster moon-balled, served underarm and generally did everything possible to put the unflappable Lendl off his game. Chang is closely followed by Boris Becker, who swept to the Wimbledon title in 1985 at 17 years and seven months, and Mats Wilander, who won at Roland Garros in 1982 at 17 years and nine months.
Of the current Big Three, Roger Federer won his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2003 at the age of 21, Djokovic scored his first success at the 2008 Australian Open at 20 and Nadal swashbuckled his way to the first of his 13 French Open triumphs a few days after his 19th birthday in 2005, becoming the first male player to win a slam as a teenager since Pete Sampras at the US Open in 1990.