It is NOT very likely. OnCourt Advantage is throwing down the challenge to be proven wrong. The power game of women’s tennis has made it increasingly more difficult for teenagers to win coveted Grand Slam singles titles and achieve the honour of being ranked No.1 in the world.
To meet the increased court coverage, stroke speed and movement demands of women’s tennis today, young female players need the physical growth that a few more years of development affords them. This means they are far more likely to be closer to 20 years of age before achieving Grand Slam success.
The number of really strong athletes in the women’s game has markedly increased in the past 10 years. It now takes longer for the junior girls to build towards matching the physical strength and power the 20-somethings now exude.
The top 5 women have outrun and outgunned their younger opponents. The top 4 made it to the semi finals at Wimbledon (the Williams sisters, Safina and Dementieva) and the current No.5 (Kuznetsova) won at Roland Garros a month earlier.
In the past 10 years only 3 women have won their first Grand Slam singles title whilst still in their teens, they were Serena Williams at the 1999 US Open just a few weeks before turning 18. Followed by Maria Sharapova who won Wimbledon in 2004 at 17 years and 3 months. The latest teenager to triumph was Svetlana Kuznetsova who was 19 years and 3 months old at the US Open in 2004.
Famous achievements by teenagers such as Steffi Graf, Aranxta Sanchez-Vicario, Monica Seles and Martina Hingis now looks like it is the exception rather than the rule.
In the past 5 years the average age for winning the 1st Grand Slam title has increased to over 23 years of age.
Current world No.8 Victoria Azarenka and No.14 Agnieszka Radwanska appear to have improved their odds of fulfilling their dreams and winning a Grand Slam singles title by playing at the US Open as 20-year-olds.
Azarenka has made it to the quarter finals of the past 2 Slams and promises to progress further in New York. Azarenka has tour victories over both Serena and Safina. Radwanska made it to the quarter finals at Wimbledon and should be interesting to follow at Flushing Meadows.
As of July 13, 2009 there are 15 players ranked in the top 100 on the WTA tour who will still be teenagers when they compete in the US Open this year.
It will be especially interesting to follow how well these youngsters perform and which ones can stand out, just like Sabine Lisicki and Melanie Oudin did at Wimbledon 2009.
Lisicki defeated No.9 seed Wozniacki to make it to the last 8 at Wimbledon and Oudin defeated former world No.1 Jelena Jankovic to make the round of 16.
The top 15 ranked teenagers at the US Open will be:
- 9. Caroline Wozniacki (19) pictured above heads the pack;
- 25. Sabine Lisicki (19, who turns 20 on September 22);
- 28. Alize Cornet (19);
- 29. Sorana Cirstea (19) ;
- 36. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (18);
- 55. Yanina Wickmayer (19, who turns 20 on October 20);
- 60. Tamira Paszek (18, who turns 19 on December 6);
- 63. Petra Kvitova (19);
- 64. Ayumi Morita (19);
- 70. Urszula Radwanska (18, who turns 19 on December 7);
- 71. Melanie Oudin (17, who turns 18 on September 23);
- 76. Michelle Larcher di Brito (16) is the youngest player in the top 100;
- 86. Polona Hercog (18);
- 94. Stefanie Voegele (19); and
- 99. Anastasijia Sevastova (19).
Stay tuned to this tennis website for further updates about the 2009 US Open singles events. Click this link to see an index of all 2009 US Open posts -> US Open 2009: Aug 25 – Sep 14.
© OnCourtAdvantage.com 2009
photo credit: envisionpublicidad