The US Open officially commences next Monday as top seed Carlos Alcaraz will look to defend his crown and potentially win a third Grand Slam title. When the Spaniard won the Grand Slam last year, it was his very first major title which also led to him becoming the youngest No. 1 in tennis history. However, Alcaraz was not the youngest US Open champion. In fact, the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal don't even make the list. So with that said, here are the 10 youngest players to win the US Open.
10. Roger Federer
Roger Federer (23 years, 22 days) won his first US Open title in 2004 a couple of weeks after winning his second Wimbledon crown. He defeated Lleyton Hewitt 6-0, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 in the final. What many didn't know at the time was it would be the first of five consecutive US Open titles for the Swiss legend.
9. Jimmy Connors
Jimmy Connors (21 years, 11 months, 26 days) became the youngest US Open winner at the time when he beat Ken Rosewall 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 in the 1974 final. It was a great year for Connors who also won the Australian Open and Wimbledon prior to his win in New York.
8. Boris Becker
Boris Becker (21 years, nine months, six days) would win his first and only US Open title when he defeated top seed Ivan Lendl in a 7-6 (7-2), 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory. The victory notably came four years after he became the youngest Grand Slam winner ever at the age of 17, seven months and two days. He would later get eclipsed by by Michael Chang who won the French Open in 1989 at 17 years, three months and seven days.
7. Andy Roddick
Andy Roddick (20 years, 11 months, 26 days) is a household name in tennis. However, he was only able to win one Grand Slam title largely due to Roger Federer. That came in the 2003 US Open final when he defeated Juan Carlos Ferrero in a 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), 6-3 victory. To this day, Roddick remains the last American to win the final Grand Slam of the year. With four Americans seeded in the top 32, perhaps things could change this year?
6. Juan Martin Del Potro
Juan Martin Del Potro (20 years, 11 months, eight days) remains one of the few players to have won a Grand Slam in the era of the Big Three. His first and only major title came in the 2009 US Open where he not only defeated Rafael Nadal in the semifinal, but bested Federer in the final, ending the latter's run of five consecutive titles in New York. Unfortunately, injuries got the best of the Argentine who would eventually retire in 2022.
5. Marat Safin
Marat Safin (20 years, seven months, one day) became just the second Russian to win a Grand Slam title with his 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 win over Pete Sampras in the 2000 US Open. He would not win another Grand Slam until the 2005 Australian Open which was his second and final major title.
4. John McEnroe
Jimmy Connors was the youngest US Open champion…until John McEnroe (20 years, six months, 12 days) won the Grand Slam in 1979 with a victory over Vitas Gerulaitis. It was the first of seven Grand Slam titles overall for the first bad boy of tennis.
3. Lleyton Hewitt
Australia's Lleyton Hewitt (20 years, six months, three days) only won two Grand Slam titles, but he did win his first at the 2001 US Open when he defeated four-time champion Pete Sampras. He would win Wimbledon the following year. As of today, he still remains the last Australian man to win a major title.
2. Carlos Alcaraz
Remarkably, Alcaraz (19 years, 134 days) missed out on being the youngest US Open champion by over three months. However, he won't be complaining too much as he was able to win his maiden Grand Slam with a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3 victory over Casper Ruud in the 2022 final. That victory elevated him to the levels we've come to expect today.
1. Pete Sampras
Pete Sampras (19 years, 15 days) still holds the record as the youngest US Open champion in tennis history. He achieved the feat at the 1990 US Open when he defeated future rival Andre Agassi 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in the final. It would be the first of an eventual 14 Grand Slam titles for the American.
Who could join them at the 2023 US Open?
There are many top young players competing at the US Open who are yet to win any Grand Slam, let alone one in Flushing Meadows. Common sense dictates that barring a major upset, a first-time winner could come from the top 10.
That could include the likes of Holger Rune (20) and Jannik Sinner (22), both of whom would crack the top 10 of this list if they were to emerge victorious in New York next month.