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Young Tennis Players: Game, Set, Match!

October 2, 2020
Coco Gauff
Coco By si.robi – https://www.flickr.com/photos/16732597@N07/48306358557/, CC BY-SA 2.0,

If you thought the world of sports had stopped due to the coronavirus pandemic, you’re partly right. Many sports and large tournaments have indeed been canceled this year. But events like the US Open tennis tournament proceeded without the crowds and spectators. You might think that would work well for the players who often request a quiet audience before they play, but it just doesn’t feel the same to players who enjoy the attention and applause.

This year, the US Open included fifteen-year-old Robin Montgomery, a wild-card entry pick from the United States. What’s a wild-card entry? It’s when the organizers pick a contestant who can draw a large crowd and has won many smaller tournaments before. It’s entirely up to the organizing committee to select a wild-card contestant.

Was Robin Montgomery the youngest tennis player in the US Open? Actually, no. Just last year, Coco Gauff, also fifteen at that time, was the youngest player (by a few months) to participate in the tournament. While Gauff went into the third round in 2019, Montgomery lost to Yulia Putintseva at this year’s US Open.

Curious about the youngest tennis champions?

The female title goes to Swiss player Martina Hingis, who won the Australian Open singles championship in 1997 at sixteen years old. The only player to do that before was Lottie Dod from the UK, who won the 1887 Wimbledon singles championship at fifteen years old. The difference, however, is that Dod won during the pre-Open era of tennis. (Interesting Fact: The ‘Open’ era in tennis started in 1968 and refers to professional tournaments that are open to all contestants regardless of their status, age, ability, or gender. In the pre-Open era, tennis was an unpaid amateur sport, played only by those who could afford to do so.) On the men’s side, Boris Becker from Germany was the youngest to win a Grand Slam title when he was seventeen years old!

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