Cori “Coco” Gauff’s memorable Wimbledon performance made her a 15-year-old superstar. It also illuminated the sport’s ability to have teenagers shine brighter than most professional sports.
Gauff, who received a wild card for this U.S. Open, will become the youngest player at the tournament when play begins at Flushing Meadows this year.
On the men’s side, there’s a trio of 21-year-old American men starting to fine-tune their games in Reilly Opelka, Frances Tiafoe and Taylor Fritz. But the youth stretches even further from the qualifying rounds.
Here’s a look at the youngest players competing in this year’s U.S. Open — in both the men’s and women’s bracket — and what their chances are of advancing far.
Coco Gauff, 15. In the first round, Gauff plays another young face, 18-year-old Anastasia Potapova, a fellow junior Grand Slam champ and junior world No. 1. Gauff would have to take down the Open’s top seed and defending champion, Naomi Osaka, to reach the quarterfinals and out-do her Wimbledon magic. The only way she’d face her idol, Serena Williams, would be in the final at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Sign us up for that one.
Caty McNally, 17. The American teenager recently told CBS of Gauff, her former doubles partner, and her Wimbledon breakout: “‘I can do the same thing, it’s just a matter of time.” The teenager received a wild card for her U.S. Open debut like Gauff and just as much a blossoming star. If she wins her first-round match against Timea Bacsinszky, she gets rewarded with a second-round clash with Serena.
Whitney Osuigwe, 17. Another 17-year-old American, Osuigwe gets a tough draw with fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina in the first round. She won the junior French Open in 2017, the first American to do so since Jennifer Capriati in 1989. Should Osuigwe pull off the upset here, she’d get the winner of Venus Williams and Saisai Zheng in the second round.
Jannik Sinner, 18. Having turned 18 just one week ago, he is the youngest men’s player in the U.S. Open main draw. The Italian has two ATP singles titles, most recently winning the Lexington Challenger to help vault into the top 130 of ATP rankings. He bypassed the junior circuit and is coming into his own as play starts at Flushing Meadows. His first round challenger is 2016 U.S. Open champ Stan Wawrinka, the last player to win a Grand Slam outside of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Jenson Brooksby, 18. He was the lone American to win his spot in the Open via qualifying by beating Pedro Martinez 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3. He was slated to be playing tennis at Baylor University in the spring, but those plans might change after beating three top pros to reach the Open’s main draw. He’ll face Tomas Berdych in the first round.
Felix Auger-Aliassime, 19. The freshly-turned 19-year-old is on the rise, having vaulted to a No. 18 seed in the U.S. Open and a top 20 ATP ranking. The only teenager in the top 100, his third round finish at Wimbledon came as a result of a defensive oriented style with subtle attacking.The Canadian Auger-Aliassime opens match play against countryman Denis Shapovalov, who beat him in last year’s Open qualifier. He’s on Nadal’s side of the bracket, with a chance to be a surprise quarterfinalist.