Youngest Grand Slam winners: How Coco Gauff would compare to Serena Williams, other tennis stars with French Open win

Youngest Grand Slam winners: How Coco Gauff would compare to Serena Williams, other tennis stars with French Open win

Graduation caps have been cast in the air across the U.S. for the past several weeks as high schools celebrate the achievements of the class of 2022. It’s safe to say that Coco Gauff’s graduation was a bit atypical compared to the rest of her classmates.

On May 21, she shared photos throwing her cap in front of the Eiffel Tower after she finished at the Florida Virtual Flex program, earning a degree from the Florida Department of Education.

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Why Paris? The next day, she played in the first round of the 2022 French Open, where she beat Canadian Rebecca Marino in straight sets, winning the second set 6-0. Five wins and nearly two weeks later, the world-No. 18 Gauff will play in the women’s singles final against top-seeded Iga Swiatek in a bid for her first Grand Slam title.

While Swiatek, who is on a 34-match winning streak, is an imposing opponent, Gauff has yet to lose a set in the tournament on the way to her first Grand Slam final. 

Where would she rank in tennis history among the youngest women to win a Grand Slam singles event? The Sporting News takes a look.

Youngest Grand Slam winners

The 2022 French Open finals are set to take place on June 4, when Gauff will be 18 years, 2 months and 22 days old. As such, she would be the youngest woman to win a Grand Slam since Maria Sharapova at just over 17 years old beat Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2004.

Williams was also younger than Gauff at the time of her first Grand Slam win, when she won her first Grand Slam in the 1999 U.S. Open at 17 years, 11 months and 16 days.

Gauff would be the eighth-youngest woman of all time to win her first Grand Slam, narrowly edging out Emma Raducanu, who was 18 years, 9 months, 29 days, when she beat Leylah Fernandez at the 2021 U.S. Open in the first all-teenage final since Williams’ win over Martina Hingis in the 1999. Gauff would be the 15th youngest winner of a Grand Slam, including players who won multiple times younger than Gauff.

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Here’s a look at all the Grand Slam women’s singles tournament winners younger than Gauff:

WinnerEventAgeCareer Grand Slam wins
Martina Hingis1997 Australian Open16 years, 3 months, 26 days5
Monica Seles1990 French Open16 years, 6 months, 7 days9
Tracy Austin1979 US Open16 years, 8 months, 28 days2
Martina Hingis1997 Wimbledon16 years, 9 months, 5 days5
Martina Hingis1997 US Open16 years, 11 months, 8 days5
Monica Seles1991 Australian Open17 years, 1 month, 24 days9
Maria Sharapova2004 Wimbledon17 years, 2 months, 14 days5
Martina Hingis1998 Australian Open17 years, 4 months, 1 day5
Arantxa Sánchez Vicario1989 French Open17 years, 5 months, 23 days4
Monica Seles1991 French Open17 years, 6 months, 6 days9
Monica Seles1991 U.S. Open17 years, 9 months, 5 days9
Serena Williams1999 US Open17 years, 11 months, 16 days23
Steffi Graf1987 French Open17 years, 11 months, 23 days22
Monica Seles1992 Australian Open18 years, 1 month, 24 days9

The list looks longer because of the number of times Martina Hingis and Monica Seles won. Hingis won three Grand Slams before even turning 17 and then another before 18. Seles won four Grand Slams before 18 and another just a month after her 18th birthday.

Hingis is the youngest-ever Grand Slam winner at 16 years, 3 months and 26 days, when she won the 1997 Australian Open. Tracy Austin at the 1979 U.S. Open was the first Grand Slam winner younger than 18. Seles at 16 years, 6 months and 7 days is — and will remain — the youngest French Open winner, when she claimed the title in 1990.

At the French Open, Gauff would be the fifth-youngest winner behind only Seles in 1990 and 1991, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1989 and Steffi Graf in 1987.

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One trend is clear from the list: Win early, and it is almost certainly not going to be the last. Austin and Sanchez Vicario are the only two that fall short of at least five career Grand Slam victories. Williams and Graf rank second and third with the most Grand Slam victories of all time at 23 and 22, respectively, behind Margaret Court’s 24 — Court won 13 in the Amateur Era and 11 in the Open Era.

The list of men younger than Gauff who have won a Grand Slam singles title is even shorter, with Michael Chang being the youngest men’s Grand Slam winner at 17 years, 3 months and 21 days when he won the 1989 French Open. It was his lone Grand Slam victory.

WinnerEventAgeCareer Grand Slam wins
Michael Chang1989 French Open17 years, 3 months, 21 days1
Boris Becker1985 Wimbledon17 years, 7 months, 16 days6
Mats Wilander1982 French Open17 years, 9 months, 20 days7
Björn Borg1974 French Open18 years, 10 days11