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Tennis: Youngest Grand Slam champions in the Open era

The US Open has a history of producing teenage champions with Coco Gauff the latest to join the pantheon of young winners at Flushing Meadows. 

Home favourite Gauff picked up her first major title on Saturday night with a thrilling 2-6 6-3 6-2 win over Aryna Sabalenka inside Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Gauff has been threatening to take her game to another level recently and the victory fulfils the promise of a player that first burst onto the scene at Wimbledon at 15.

She becomes the 10th teenager to win the US Open, picking up the Semple Trophy at the age of 19 years, 180 days.

Gauff's success means there's been a teenage singles winner at the US Open in each of the last three years with Brit Emma Radacanu claiming the women's title at 18 in 2021, while 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz won the men's top prize last year.

But compared to some of the previous young winners in New York, let alone across all the 24 teenagers to have won Grand Slams, Gauff is a veteran, just sneaking into the 10 youngest winners of the women's US Open.

What2024 Women's Australian Open
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
WhenMonday, January 15th 2024 - Sunday, January 28th 2024
How to watchbet365 Sports Live Streaming. Eurosport
OddsIga Swiatek 3/1, Aryna Sabalenka 6/1, Elena Rybakina 6/1, Coco Gauff 10/1, Jessia Pegula 12/1, Mirra Andreeva 14/1, Ons Jabeur 20/1

Sweetest of sweet 16s for Hingis 

Martini Hingis was three years Gauff's junior when she won her first Slam and usurped Monica Seles as the youngest Grand Slam winner of all time.

Having won the junior French Open crown at just 12, Hingis had been on the watch list of future champions for some time. 

In the second half of 1996, the Swiss had really established herself as a serious contender, reaching the US Open semi-finals, and went to the 1997 Australian Open seeded fourth.

She blew away her rivals in Melbourne, not dropping a set as she beat Mary Pierce to clinch her first of five Grand Slam titles. 

Hingis was 118 days younger than Seles, another prodigious talent as a youngster who realised her potential at the 1990 French Open. 

Seles beat the great Steffi Graff in straight sets in the final, becoming only the second 16-year-old, male or female, to have won a Slam at the time. 

Tracy Austin had been the first 16-year-old to win a major when she captured the US Open in 1979 in her third crack at her home slam. 

Austin had reached the quarter-finals at 14 and 15 before beating fellow American Chris Evert 6-4 6-3 to clinch one of her two career Slams.

Chang takes Paris by storm

The US has produced more teenage tennis champions than any other nation with Austin and Gauff two of six Stateside success stories. 

The USA can lay claim to having the youngest winner of a men's Grand Slam with Michael Chang having won the 1989 French Open aged 17 years and 110 days.

Chang was seeded 15th for that year's Paris major having steadily been making a name for himself on the main tour after a record-breaking junior career.

He beat world number one Ivan Lendl in an epic fourth-round match that really made everyone sit up and take notice before coming from 2-1 down in the final to defeat Stefan Edberg.

Chang replaced Boris Becker as the youngest men's Grand Slam winner with his French Open victory, Becker having taken the tennis world by storm when he won Wimbledon in 1985. 

Greats get on the board early

The 1989 French Open would turn out to be Chang's only slam title, but the majority of young winners have gone on to pick up multiple Slam honours. 

The likes of Becker, Bjorn Borg, Rafael Nadal, Pete Sampras and Carlos Alcaraz had at least one major title under their belts before they turned 20.

Serena Williams and Graff, two of the most successful competitors in women's tennis of all-time with 23 and 22 Slam titles respectively, were Grand Slam winners at 17, while Evert was 19 when she won the first of her 18 championships. 

If history has taught us anything then, it's that Gauff is more likely than not to enjoy more Slam success, although she'll now have to wait until next year and the 2024 Australian Open to add to her tally. 

Top-10 youngest Grand Slam winners

16 years, 117 daysMartina Hingis1997 Australian Open
16 years, 189 daysMonica Seles1990 French Open
16 years, 270 daysTracy Austin1979 US Open
17 years, 75 daysMaria Sharapova2004 Wimbledon
17 years, 110 daysMichael Chang1989 French Open
17 years, 174 daysArantxa Sánchez Vicario1989 French Open
17 years, 228 daysBoris Becker1985 Wimbledon
17 years, 293 daysMats Wilander1982 French Open
17 years, 350 daysSerena Williams1999 US Open
17 years, 357 daysSteffi Graf1987 French Open

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