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Wimbledon Top 10: Youngest Champions

Rod Laver (AUS) winning the Gentlemen's Singles Final in 1962 against Martin Mulligan (AUS) in straight sets.
by Mark Hodgkinson
Friday 28 June 2013

Does it seem as if players are getting younger? Wimbledon.com looks at the top 10 youngest champions.

1. Boris Becker was 17 years old when he won the 1985 Championships, becoming the youngest ever winner of the gentlemen's singles title. "What I remember most from winning Wimbledon at 17 was that people suddenly looked at me differently – they thought I was from planet Mars. They thought I had done something I wasn't supposed to do, something that shouldn't have been possible. But I did it. And then I did it at 18, just to make the point." 

2. Before Becker, the youngest men's champion was Wilfred Baddeley, who was 19 when he won the title in 1881 (the Englishman won a couple more titles, in 1892 and 1895). 

3. Martina Hingis was just 13 years old when she won the junior Wimbledon title at the 1994 Championships, so becoming the youngest champion of that competition (her first Grand Slam victory had come the season before when, at the age of 12, she won the junior French Open to become the youngest player to ever win a junior Grand Slam title).

4. Dennis Ralston, an American, is the youngest ever men's doubles champion  he was 17 when he won in 1960, alongside Mexico's Rafael Osuna. In 1966, he would reach a Wimbledon singles final, losing to Manuel Santana.

5. Lottie Dod, who was known as 'The Little Wonder', and who dressed in a long white dress and black woolen stockings, was 15 years and 285 days old when she won the ladies' singles title in 1887. She remains the youngest ladies’ singles champion.

6. Martina Hingis is the youngest ever women's doubles champion – she was 15 years and 282 days old when she won in 1996, with Helena Sukova as her partner. She is also the youngest winner of any senior title at the All England Club – Lottie Dod was three days older when she won the ladies' singles title in 1887. 

7. Martina Hingis is the youngest women's singles champion of the modern era, winning the 1997 title when she was just 16. As the New York Times observed on the day that the Little Swiss Miss beat Jana Novotna: "With the smile of a cheerleader and the appetite of a shark, Hingis is the epitome of a new wave of tennis teenagers with no qualms about preying on the older generation". 

8. Australia’s Rod Laver is the youngest ever man to win the mixed doubles title – he was 20 in 1959. He played with American Darlene Hard.

9. Serena Williams was 16 when she won the 1998 mixed tournament, making her the youngest ever woman to hold the title. Her partner, Max Mirnyi, had apparently been too shy to approach her himself, so it had been his father who had set up the partnership. 

10. When a 20-year-old Bjorn Borg won the 1976 Wimbledon Championships, he became the youngest men's champion of the 20th century (but he didn't hold that record for long, as it was just nine years later that Boris Becker won the tournament at the age of just 17). 

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