When Will a Male Tennis Player Born in the 1990s Win a Grand Slam Title?

Update: Dominic Thiem (born 1993) became the first male tennis player born in the 1990s to win a Grand Slam, with his victory at the 2020 U.S. Open in September 2020.

Historically, most tennis players have enjoyed the most successful period of their career in their 20s, and began thinking about retirement once they reached their 30s. However, for male tennis players born in the 1990s, this hasn't been the case. In fact, no man born after 1988 has ever won a Grand Slam singles title (also known as a major, ie. Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, or US Open). As of March 2019, no one who is currently under the age of 30 has ever won a a Grand Slam singles title; the current-youngest Grand Slam winner is Marin Cilic (b. 1988). In fact, only two men born in the 1990s have even reached a Grand Slam final -- Dominic Thiem (b. 1993) and Milos Raonic (b. 1990). And although the "Big Three" of men's tennis did win their first majors titles at much younger ages (Rafael Nadal at 19 in 2005; Novak Djokovic at 20 in 2008, and Roger Federer at 21 in 2003), they don't seem to be showing signs of retiring anytime soon, having dominated the tennis scene for the last decade and a half. Another astounding statistic to consider is that the 10 most recent Grand Slam events have all been won by men aged 31 or older (Djokovic, Nadal, Federer, and Stan Wawrinka).

Age is just a number ... especially on the tennis court:

  • Some tennis pundits have suggested that no male tennis player born in the 1990s will ever win a Grand Slam title, if older players like Federer (b. 1981), Nadal (b. 1986), and Djokovic (b. 1987) continue to remain dominant for the next few years and then players born in the 2000s begin to find success.

  • The oldest male tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles title was Ken Rosewall, who won the Australian Open at age 37 in 1972. Roger Federer was 36 when he won the Australian Open in 2018. On the other hand, Michael Chang, Boris Becker, and Mats Wilander were all 17 when they won their first Grand Slam titles, back in 1989, 1985, and 1982, respectively.

  • In women's tennis, the landscape has been a little different. Although Serena Williams (b. 1981) has very much dominated the Grand Slam events, players born in the 1990s such as GarbiƱe Muguruza, Sloane Stephens, and Naomi Osaka have still found success in the majors.
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