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Meet the 3 youngest men and women US Open winners

Harrison Ifeanyichukwu
By Harrison Ifeanyichukwu

Sr Software Engineer at Delivery Hero, Investor, Sports analyst and Tech Evangelist

us open competition

The US Open is one of the most watch tennis events; not because it is staged in the United States but because it has always been an avenue of a surprising turn of event where the masters in the game can easily be dominated or embarrassed by the upcoming talent who wish to establish their dominance in the game. 

More importantly, beyond the Flushing Meadows triumph in New York, many tennis players have always dreamt of winning the majors, at the least some of them, if not all.

However, the Flushing Meadows has always been an epicentre of the major surprise, unlike Roland Garros, who has been outrightly dominated by Rafael Nadal, who has won the record of 13 times from fourteen appearances or the Australian Open dominated by Novack Djokovic, who has now won 9 times from the record of 13 participations. 

More so, with the like US open, it has only been the Wimbledon that has a fair share of the winners across the board but still was dominated by the Swiss master, Roger Federer.

But the US Open will always and mostly be the light that set the tone for the brilliant mind in the game, either young or old, rigid or flexible, bold or timid, as long as the player is intelligent enough to take the game when it matters. 

However, with over decades of dominance between the three legends, Novack Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer has duly reduced the influence of the promising talent in the game and, most especially, the US Open tournament.

Moreover, with the 141st edition of the tournament knocking on the door, many are vigorously preparing their gears and amours to ensure their triumph in August/September when the 141st edition of the tournament takes the stage in New York City. 

Even with the dominance of these greats, the US open has been the career breakthrough tournament for the prodigies statistically. For those who have emerged triumphant as youngest Singles Champions in Flushing Meadows, the tournament compared to the other Grand Slams, the US Open is the only.

Slam has been won by as many as three players (Juan Martin del Potro, Marin Čilić and Stan Wawrinka) outside the dominant four (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novack Djokovic and Andy Murray) in a little more than a decade. 

While it is the most unpredictable major tennis tournament in the open era and the many youngsters have used the tourney to set their standard so high. However, below are the youngest US Open winners who have taken advantage of the stage to defeat the champions beating all the odds to clinch the US Open title in the open era either from the women section or the men category?

The youngest women US Open winners

3. Monica Seles (17 years, 9 months, 5 days)

Monica sales, the youngest US open winner

Monica Seles will be remembered not alone for winning the major before she clocked 18 years, but she was able to dominate the tennis world, so early winning more than 8 grand slams before she turns 20 years is truly remarkable and worth the note of been great. 

In 1990, Seles became the youngest French Open winner before she turned adult at the tender age of 16 in the women’s category of the Roland Garros, while she further stretched her dominance by retaining her title, the following year where she also won her US Open in 1991, while she was going to the tournament as the second seed behind her great rival Steffi Graf. 

However, she defeated the American Jennifer Capriati in the semifinal before she unleashed terror on another American, Martina Navratilova, in the final, respectively, to clinch her first US Open title at the age of 17 years, 9 months, 5 days. 

Like she did for French Open 1991, where she went ahead to reclaim her title, which she won in 1990, Seles further made a statement among the great in the open era as she successfully defended her 1991 US Open and Australian Open triumph in 1992.

But her remarkable ability was really a great dominance when she successfully redefended the French Open and Australian Open in the following year, once again makes a threat to many with fastidious tenacity and apparent lob shot that defined her dominance in the game.

The Yugoslavian and American tennis prodigy went on to win 9 majors from 14 finals throughout her career, but nothing can be taken away from the akin genius.

2. Martina Hingis (16 years, 11 months, 8 days)

Martina Hingis, the second youngest female us open winner

Martina Hingis is the second youngest female US open winner at 16 years, 11 months, 8 days.

If there are women winning tennis major titles now, a perfect reference would have been the Switzerland genius that storm the tennis world like thunder that blaze aside all the difficulty. At the same time, she made it looks so simple with her sheer force of nature. 

Martina Hingis was among the few that dominated the world of tennis as a teen. At the same time, she won her first major in the Wimbledon double championship at age 16 in 1996, which serve as a template for her dominant year in 1997, where she won her US Open title. 

In 1997 which is by far the best year of the Switzerland superstar throughout her career, she qualified for all the major final winning them all except the French Open, despite reaching the final. However, the Switzerland princess entered the 1997 US Open as the top seed.

She became an undisputed number 1 when she won the competition without dropping a single set, beating the American Venus Williams in the final. 

Moreover, Hingis was only 16 years, 11 months, 8 days when she became the champions of the Flushing Meadows for the first time in her life, which turned out to be her last US Open triumph.

The former world number 1 won multiple major titles in her prime, brimming her superstar as Switzerland first global superstar when she became the terror in the flesh of her opposing in 1997. She went on to win multiple Australian Open and once crowned as US Open and Wimbledon with her single triumph in Roland Garros, but she went ahead to hold the number one spot for a total of 209 weeks throughout her career span

1. Tracy Austin (16 years, 8 months, 28 days)

At the age of 16, Tracy Austin logged a win over the legendary Billie-Jean King at the Wimbledon Championships in 1979. She, however, headed to the US Open in the same year as 3rd seeded player, while she defeated the multiple Grand Slam champions and tennis legends; Martina Navratilova in the semifinal and Chris Evert in the final to claim her first Flushing Meadows title at a tender age of 16 years, 8 months, 28 days, making her the youngest ever player to win the Women's Singles Championship in Flushing Meadows.

Moreover, the American spicy tennis player is notably recognized for her all-around baseline game, which comes with blessed and fierce forehand and incredibly powerful two-handed backhands. Furthermore, she had the ability to hit winners with pinpoint accuracy.

At the same time, she also displayed great volleying skills that eventually help her win a Mixed Doubles title at the Wimbledon Championships with her brother John Austin. In 1995. 

Although, unlike other greats who start to mark the territory since a teen, Austin never really did dominate the tennis world as she would like with skill and tenacity, the American star was a joy to behold with the all-around baseline game that defined her in her bid win to her first Flushing Meadow.

The youngest men US Open winners

3. John McEnroe (20 years, 6 months, 24 days)

John McEnroe, the 3rd youngest man US Open winner

Coming to the 1979 US Open, McEnroe was seeded behind World Number 1, Ilie Nastase and Jimmy Connors as the third prospective player to win the competition. However, the German-born American tennis star didn’t disappoint the bookies and his fans as he beat the tournament top seed, Ilie Nastase, in the 2nd round and Jimmy Connors, the second seed in the semifinal en route to his first US Open final, which he eventually won defeating Vitas Gerulatis in the final to claim his first US Open and Grand Slam title at the age of 20 years, 6 months, 24 days.

In a combined tally of 77 Singles titles and 78 Doubles titles, the American has the highest trophy cabinet in the Open Era. Although he turned professional a year earlier to his first Grand Slams triumph, he quickly established himself as one of the top players on tour with his on-court skills as well as his peculiar behaviour of indulging in on-court outbursts with the officials.

2. Lleyton Hewitt (20 years, 6 months, 13 days)

Lleyton Hewitt, the 2nd youngest man US Open winner

Lleyton Hewitt is the 2nd youngest man US Open winner. Coming into the final game of the 2001 US Open tournament, Hewitt was up against the 4-time US Open champion, a sentimental favourite and one of the greatest players ever, Pete Sampras. However, contrary to many people opinion on how the game would have been, the match was a one-sided affair. 

Hewitt won the match in straight sets as he breezed past the top seed in the tournament to win his first Grand Slam title and first US Open at the age of 20 years, 6month and 13 days. More so, the Australian international became the youngest ever ATP World Number 1 in the same year.

Furthermore, the Australian prodigy went into the 2001 US Open as the 4th seed, while he was beginning to be ranked ahead of a great player like Pat Rafter on the ATP charts as the best number Australian tennis at such a young age. 

Lleyton Hewitt, on his path to the final, had a difficult route while he had 2 grueling 5-set encounters against Americans James Blake and Andy Roddick in the second round and quarter-finals respectively, but eventually cap his difficult path with a scintillating performance against one of the best players to ever grace the tennis court.

Before his first-ever Grand Slams in Flushing Meadows, the Australian had beaten Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Yevgeny Kafelnikov before he even turned 20 years of age. He was, in fact, the first teenager to qualify for the ATP Masters Series Finals in the Open Era.

1. Pete Sampras (19 Years, 28 Days)

Pete Sampras, the youngest man US Open winner

Pete Sampras is the youngest man US Open winner. Prior to the dominance of the three monsters in tennis (Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer), Pete Sampras enjoyed an enormous ovation because his fans supported the American international well.

”Pistol Pete”, as he was called on account of his quick serves, the 14 times major title winner rose to prominence in the early 1990s. Still, his big break came in 1990 when he shook the world with his tenacity and intellect to win his first major title and US Open at Flushing Meadows. 

Heading to the competition, Sampras was the 12th seed, while many Americans were ahead of him in the seedings chart. Sampras quickly became a fairy when he triumphed in US Open, defeating Thomas Muster, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe and Andre Agassi en route to his title charge.

However, Sampras is still the only teenager ever to win the US Open in the Open Era as he was 19 years, 28 days old when he won his first US Open. Moreover, Sampras started the year as World Number 61 but made giant strides with consistent performances to finish the year as the World Number 5, until he became the fairy in the tale of many tennis lovers.

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