Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is accepted widely as the most prestigious one among the four grand slam tennis tournaments viz the French Open, the US Open and the Australian Open .It started at All England Club in Wimbledon, London since 1877. It is the only grand slam tournament played on grass which is also the original surface of the game. In 1988, Australian Open shifted to hardcourt however Wimbledon still remains the only major which is played on grass. But what would an individual feel when becomes champion at young age at the home of the game? What would an individual feel to be the champion at the most prestigious grand slam at young age? Any player who becomes champion in this tournament is like reaching the epitome of the game. Here, we have the youngest tennis players who have championed Wimbledon and realised their dreams at young age:
1. Slovakia born Martina Hingis (Martina Hingisová Molitor) of Switzerland has several series of “youngest-ever” records to her name including youngest grand slam singles champion of the 20th century and youngest-ever World No. 1 . She bagged her first grand slam title when she was 12 by winning junior girls’ single title at French Open in 1993 and with that she became the youngest player to ever win a junior grand slam.
At the age of just 13 years old, she clinched the Wimbledon junior title at the Wimbledon Championships in 1994 . She thus became the youngest champion of Junior Wimbledon Championship.
She is also the youngest ever women’s doubles champion of Wimbledon. She partnered with Helena Sukova of Czech Republic and won the women’s double title beating Meredith McGrath and larisa Neiland in Wimbledon Championships 1996 when she attained 15 years and 282 days. She holds the record of being the youngest champion (men or women) of any senior title of Wimbledon.
Martina Hingis is the youngest women’s singles champion of the modern era, who won the Wimbledon title in 1997. She was just 16 years old years and beat Jana Novotna in the final. She became the second youngest player after Lottie Dod (Charlotte “Lottie” Dod) of United Kingdom to win a ladies’ singles title.
2. Lottie Dod (Charlotte “Lottie” Dod) of United Kingdom was 15 years and 285 days old when she won the ladies’ singles title in Wimbledon Championships in 1887. She defeated Blanche Bingley Hillyard in straight sets 6–2, 6–0. At 15 years and 285 days she was the youngest ever winner of the ladies’ singles championships. She still remains the youngest ladies’ singles champion of Wimbledon. She won the ladies’ singles titles of Wimbledon in 1887, 1888, 1891, 1892 and 1893 beating Blanche Bingley Hillyard five times in the finals.
Besides tennis, Dod played and competed in many other sports, including golf, field hockey, and archery. She won the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship, played the England women’s national field hockey team two times and won a silver medal at the 1908 Summer Olympics in archery. She along with Babe Zaharias hold The Guinness Book of Records for being the most versatile female athletes of all time.
3. Serena Williams (Serena Jameka Williams ) was 16 when she won the 1998 mixed doubles tournament becoming the youngest ever woman to hold the title. She partnered with Max Mirnyi and defeated Mahesh Bhupathi and Mirjana Lucic in straight sets by 6–4, 6–4.
4. Boris Becker, the blonde teenager of the then West Germany remains the youngest winner in men’s singles event. He won the men’s single title in Wimbledon Championship of 1985 edition when he was just 17 years and 228 days old. He beat Kevin Curren, a South-African-born American in the final.
Becker was also the first German ever to win the title and the first unseeded player. He won the men’s singles title in 1986 too when he gained 18 years of age.
5. Richard Dennis Ralston of the USA is the youngest ever men’s doubles champion. He was 17 years old when he won in 1960 with Rafael Osuna of Mexico. In the men’s doubles final, they beat Mike Davies and Bobby Wilson of England by 7–5, 6–3, 10– 8.
6. Wilfred Baddeley of England was 19 years and 5 months old when he won the Wimbledon men’s singles title in 1891 beating Joshua Pim by 6–4, 1–6, 7–5, 6–0. He won two more titles in 1892 and 1895. He remained the youngest man to win the men’s singles title before Boris Becker broke the record in 1985. He also won men’s doubles titles in the years 1891, 1894, 1895 and 1896 of Wimbledon editions.
7. Rodney George Rod Laver of Australia who partnered Darlene Hard of the USA was the youngest ever man to win the mixed doubles title in 1959 edition of Wimbledon. He was 20 years old then.
8. Bjorn Borg won the Wimbledon Championships men’s sinlges title in 1976 when he was just 20 years and 1 month old thereby to become the youngest men’s singles champion of that time defeating Ilie Nastase in the final. Borg became the youngest male Wimbledon champion of the modern era. He further won the title in the Wimbledon editions of 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980.