Last Updated on September 1, 2022
The Grand Slam tournaments of the sport of tennis refers to the four major tournaments of the tennis circuit presided over by the International Tennis Federation. The Grand Slams act as the very pinnacle of the sport carrying the most prestige, offering the best level of competition, the highest prize money and the most ranking points. The Grand Slams has a history rich in both competition and drama. All four Grand Slams had started to hold as at the year 1925 but it wasn’t until the year 1930 that it became obvious that they were the premier tournaments on the tennis circuit. The first open Grand Slam Tournament was held in France in the year 1968. Grand Slam Events before this had been played exclusively by amateurs. The decision to make the Grand Slams open was borne by amongst under reasons, a desire to improve the quality of the competitions and it worked, the quality of tennis on display markedly improved with a large and varied field of athlete providing a rich vein of talent.
The four Grand Slam Tournaments in order of time they occur in the year are The Australian Open played in Late January and February in Melbourne, the French Open also known as Roland Garros played in Paris in Late May and Early June, Wimbledon played in London in late June and early July and finally the US Open played in New York in late August to early September. The US Open and Australian Open are hard court tournaments, Wimbledon is played on grass courts and the Roland Garros has clay courts.
The tennis circuit has seen a lot of athletes come through, some good and others great. There have been some players who burst onto the scene at a young age winning for themselves immortal fame and glory at the prestigious Grand Slams. This is a brief history of the ten youngest players to ever win a Grand Slam singles title in the open era.
List of 10 Youngest Grand Slam Winners
10. Steffi Graff
Germany’s Steffi Graf ranks second in most Grand Slam women’s singles titles won with 22. She won her first Grand Slam title aged 17 years, 11 months and 23 days at the 1987 French Open. Graf went on to win 107 careers singles title among which was a 1988 Olympic gold medal. She was a versatile player who won at least four titles at all the Grand Slam. She was inducted into the tennis hall of fame in 2004.
9. Serena Williams
American tennis player Serena Williams first achieved Grand Slam success when she was seventeen years old. Serena Williams won the final of the 1999 US Open against top seed Martina Hingis. Second seed and defending champion Lindsay Davenport lost to Serena in the semifinals. Serena Williams and her sister Venus had previously beaten Higgins and her doubles partner Anna Kournikova at the 1999 French open women’s doubles final to emerge champions, but Serena’s victory over Higgins in the 1999 US Open at the age of 17 years, 11 months and 16 days marked the first of Serena Willims twenty-three Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the Open era. She has 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, two Grand Slam mixed doubles, three Olympic doubles gold medal, one Olympic singles gold medal. Serena Williams has seventy-three singles titles and is widely regarded as one of the best players to ever grace the tennis courts.
8. Mats Wilander
Mats Wilander quite unexpected burst onto the scene when he won the 1982 French Open men’s Singles title in his first main draw appearance at the competition. He was 17 years and 293 days old and had only just won the French Open boys singles competition the year before. He was unseeded at the tournament and his victory made it his first ATP tour level win. Wilander won seven Grand Slam singles titles and one Grand Slam doubles title. He was also a principal factor in Sweden’s sucess at the Davis cup in the 1980’s. He won three Davis Cup titles with Sweden.
7. Boris Becker
German Boris Becker won the first of his six Grand Slam titles at the young age of 17 years and 228 days. He achieved this feat at the 1985 Wimbledon Championship. His Wimbledon triumph made him the first unseeded player and the first German to win the Wimbledon Singles title. Becker during his career would win 49 singles titles and 15 doubles titles.
6. Arantxa Vicario
Spaniard Arantxa Vicario won glory and acclaim at the 1989 French Open when she defeated German Steffi Graf in the final match of the tournament at the age of 17 years, 5 months, 14 days. Vicario’s victory was all the more scintillating because the nineteen-year-old Graf had won the last Five Grand Slams and was the overwhelming favorite. Graf would go on to win the next three singles Grand Slams but there on the clay courts of the Stade Rolland Garros, Vicario stopped Graf’s’ romp. Vicario’s victory would turn out to be what hindered Graf from claiming a second consecutive Calander year Grand Slam. Vicario would over her career win four Grand Slam singles, six women’s Grand Slam doubles, four Grand Slam mixed doubles.
5. Michael Chang
American Michael Chang is the youngest ever male player to win a Grand Slam. Chang defeated Stefan Edberg in a thrilling five set match to win the final of the 1989 French Open. He was aged 17 years and 110 days. Chang had been a terrific junior player setting numerous records before his French open triumph. As a player he was shorter than almost all his opponents and had to play a dogged defensive game. He won 34 top level professional singles titles but unfortunately was not able to build on his early success at the slams. He was runner-up at two other Grand Slams but his 1989 French Open title was his only Grand Slam title until his retirement. He won ATP titles in three different decades with the last being in 2000. He retired in 2003.
4. Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova is known as one of tennis brighter princesses. She won her first Grand Slam title by defeating two-time defending champion Serena Williams at the 2004 Wimbledon Championships. Sharapova had just turned seventeen seventy-five days before her Wimbledon triumph. Sharapova would become world no.1 in 2005, she would go on to win four more Grand Slam Singles and an Olympic silver medal during the course of her bright career. Sharapova is the only Russian to have completed a career Singles Grand Slam.
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3. Tracy Austin
American Tracy Austin won her first Grand Slam, the 1979 US Open at the age of 16 years and 9 months. She is the youngest US Open singles champion. Tracy Austin was participating in Grand Slams even before she turned professional reaching the third round of 1977 Wimbledon and the quarterfinals of the 1977 US Open both before she turned fifteen. After turning professional in August 1978, Austin lost in the semifinals of the 1979 Wimbledon Championships, and then won the 1979 US Open women’s singles title. Austin suffered chronic injuries that kept her away from tour from large stretches of time throughout her career beginning from 1981 and was able to win only one more Singles Grand Slam (1981 US Open) before her retirement in 1994.
2. Monica Seles
Monica Seles became the youngest French Open Champion when she won the tournament at the 1990 edition. she was aged 16 years and 189 days. Seles had turned professional the previous year and had actually reached the quarterfinal of the 1989 French Open where she lost to the world number 1 Steffi Graffi. Seles defeated Graffi in the 1990 French Open final to win her maiden tournament. Seles would go on to win Seven of the subsequent Eleven Grand Slams. Seles won eight grand slams before she turned twenty. In Aprill of 1993, Seles was attacked during a match at the Hamburg Open by a spectator. The spectator who was reportedly an obsessed fan of Steffi Graffi stabbed Seles between the shoulder blades with a boning knife. Graf had lost three of the four Grand Slam final match she had played against Seles. The spectator was found to be psychologically abnormal and Graffi visited Seles while she was hospitalized but Seles did not return to the tennis circuit for two years. Seles returned to tour in 1994 but was never able to recapture her dominance of the sport before her injury. she won only one Grand Slam (1996 Australian Open) after her return until she retired. She would perhaps have become one of the greatest ever tennis athletes if she had not been stabbed on tour.
1. Martina Hingis
Martina Hingis is the youngest player ever to win a Grand Slam. She achieved this feat at the 1997 Australian Open. She stormed through the Australian Open without dropping a single set becoming champion at the tender age of 16 years and 117days. Despite her young age, Higgins was the fourth seed at the tournament. Her victory meant she became the first Swiss player to win a Grand Slam. She won three of the four Grand Slam singles titles that year defeated only in the final of the French Open. Higgins went on to win five Grand Slam Singles titles, Thirteen Grand Slam doubles titles, seven Grand Slam mixed doubles titles and was the first Swiss player to achieve a world No. 1 ranking.
It should be noted that here we describe players first Grand Slam victories. Martina Higgins had three Grand Slam titles before she turned seventeen and Monica Seles had won four Grand Slams before she got to the age at which Serena Williams won her first title.