Success at the young level is not necessarily the basis for winning the Grand Slam, but that seems to be becoming a trend in women’s tennis.
Gifted athletes have a good starting point. In fact, competing with competitors of the same age in the youth tournament is completely different when entering the path of professional competition. In the past, there were many young tennis players who held the number one position in the world or had won the Grand Slam Youth Championship, but were unsuccessful in professional tournaments.
But recently, that has changed, especially in women’s tennis, with some Grand Slam champions coming up from success in the youth tournaments. Sofia Kenin is the latest evidence. Russian-American girl acquainted with the racket from a very young age. At the age of 6, she had the opportunity to meet and talk with idol Kim Clijsters in 2005. As a teenager, Kenin has achieved many successes, especially in America.
Kenin used to be the number two young player in the world and won the U18 USA. In addition, she reached the final of the 2015 US Open, winning a special ticket to the main round at Flushing Meadows that year. However, Kenin lost to the Hungarian Dalma Galfi in that final. But for now, while Kenin is first in the top 10 in the world, Galfi is ranked 269th on the WTA rankings. The 2015 US Open youth champion also lost to Tereza Mrdeza in the ITF semi-final which took place in Florida two weeks ago.
Kenin’s victory in Melbourne Park extends the list of young players who have successfully conquered the Grand Slam. Bianca Andreescu, the current US Open champion, is also one of them. The 19-year-old Canadian has ranked third in the world in the world youth rankings, played two Grand Slam semi-finals and won two Grand Slam titles in the youth doubles competition. Ashleigh Barty, champion of Roland Garros 2019, was also crowned at the Wimbledon Youth Championship at the age of 15 and was once the number two young player in the world.
Simona Halep – the champion of Roland Garros 2018 and Wimbledon 2019 – is equally good, although it takes more time than Kenin, Barty or Andreescu to assert themselves in the professional playing field. Former Romanian number one youngster won the 2008 Roland Garros youth championship. But it was not until ten years later that Halep made a professional-level breakthrough with the first Grand Slam on the clay court in Paris. .
Caroline Wozniacki is a similar case to Halep. She used to be the number two young player in the world and won the Wimbledon Youth Championship in 2006, but experienced many ups and downs to get rid of the nickname “Queen without Grand Slam” when she took the throne in the Australian Open 2018. Denmark announced retirement at the age of 29 after stopping in the third round of this year’s tournament.