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6 junior champions who went on to win Wimbledon in the Open Era

Bjorn Borg
Bjorn Borg with the 1978 Wimbledon trophy

With the 2015 Wimbledon Championships drawing to an end, it is a good time to have a look back at some of the junior Wimbledon champions who were successful both as a junior and as a pro at the All England Club.This year Agnieszka Radwanska is one of the junior champions to have reached the last-four stage in singles. But the Polish No. 1, who reached the 2012 ladies singles final, has failed to add to her 2005 junior crown, and will not be able to do so this year either, as she has lost to Garbine Muguruza in the semis.There are six junior singles champions who went on to flourish on the turf of Wimbledon in the Open Era. Let us have a look at all of them:

#1 Bjorn Borg

Bjorn Borg
Bjorn Borg with the 1978 Wimbledon trophy

The Ice Man, who mastered the French Open and Wimbledon simultaneously, first owned the lush green lawns of the All England Club as a junior. In 1972, a 16-year-old Bjorn Borg showed glimpses of his resilience to come back from 2-5 down in the deciding set and win against Buster Mottram of Great Britain in a thrilling final.

Borg, the calm and collected Swedish player, thrived on the lawns in south-west London five consecutive times from 1976 to 1980. The 1980 five-setter summit clash against his nemesis John McEnroe was one of the most outstanding finals ever played, which involved a 34-point tie-break in the fourth set.

#2 Pat Cash

Pat Cash
Pat Cash with the Wimbledon trophy in 1987

The Australian Pat Cash had a stellar career in the junior level, where he was ranked No. 1 in 1981. Cash had double glory in 1982, winning both the Wimbledon and US Open titles. He had a memorable outing at SW19 that year where he reigned supreme in both the singles and doubles finals. In the singles, he beat Henrik Sundström of Sweden for the crown while in doubles he teamed up with John Frawley for the title.

The serve-and-volley expert had the biggest moment of his career as a pro at the 1987 Wimbledon Championships. The Aussie was simply unstoppable and defeated the likes of Mats Wilander, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl for the title.

#3 Stefan Edberg

Stefan Edberg
Stefan Edberg after beating Becker in 1988

Roger Federer’s current coach, Stefan Edberg had an incredible junior career and is the only holder of a calendar year Grand Slam in juniors. The Swede burst into the spotlight with this achievement in 1983 and at Wimbledon he triumphed over John Frawley in straight sets.

Edberg, the proponent of the serve-and-volley game, built a sizzling rivalry with German Boris Becker, whom he faced in three consecutive finals from 1988 to 1990. The Swede topped the German in 1988 and in an enthralling five-set clash in 1990.

#4 Martina Hingis

Martina Hingis
A 16-year-old Martina Hingis with the Wimbledon trophy in 1997

There is no dearth to the Swiss Miss Martina Hingis’s records. Hingis won her only ladies singles crown at Wimbledon at the age of 16 which saw her becoming the youngest singles champion at the All England Club in 1997. But even before a tender age of 16, Martina had already triumphed on the hallowed lawns.

As an innocent 13-year-old, Hingis dominated the grass courts for the girls’ singles title in 1994. She defeated Korean Jeon Mi-ra in straight sets. Apart from the SW19 success, she also won at the French Open twice as a junior.

Hingis’s storied career at Wimbledon doesn’t even end with her accomplishment in singles. She also added the 1996 and 1998 doubles crowns. The first one came with Helena Sukova when the Swiss was just 15 years and 9 months old and the second one was with Jana Novotna.

And at the age of 34, Hingis is once again in contention for the ladies doubles crown, this year with India’s Sania Mirza.

#5 Amelie Mauresmo

Amelie Mauresmo
A jubilant Amelie Mauresmo after winning the Wimbledon in 2006

Amelie Mauresmo, who is currently helping Andy Murray hone his skills for a second Wimbledon title, herself reigned on the lawns as a junior and as a pro.

The French player had a superb run in 1996, winning the girls’ singles title at both the French Open and the Wimbledon. At the grass court Slam, she got the better of Spaniard Magui Serna in three tough sets.

With her graceful backhand, Mauresmo went on to conquer the turf and the then five-time major winner Justine Henin-Hardenne in an exhilarating finale in 2006. With this triumph, she also etched her name in the record books as the first Frenchwoman to achieve Wimbledon glory since Suzanne Lenglen in 1925.

#6 Roger Federer

Roger Federer Wimbledon
Roger Federer with the 2012 Wimbledon trophy

Roger Federer, who booked a berth in his 10th Wimbledon semi-final on Wednesday, aptly had his most successful run at the All England Club out of all the Slams as a junior.

In 1998, then a fledgling kid of 16 years, the Swiss won the boys’ singles title with a straight-set win over Irakli Labadze. Not only that, he also went on to annex the doubles crown that year, partnering Olivier Rochus of Belgium.

Federer’s success at Wimbledon as a pro is well-documented. He clinched the title from 2003-2007, in 2009 and 2012. The World No. 2 is still in the hunt for his eighth crown at this year’s Championships.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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