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Carlos Alcaraz seeks to join elite Grand Slam club at Roland Garros

At just 19, Carlos Alcaraz is on course to become the eighth teenager to win a Grand Slam men’s singles title at the French Open which kicks off at Roland Garros on Sunday.

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Here’s a look at the seven men who won major tournaments as teenagers:

BJORN BORG

In 1974 Swedish superstar Borg won the first of his six French Open after celebrating his 18th birthday by beating Manuel Orantes 2-6, 6-7, 6-0, 6-1, 6-1. Borg would win 11 majors, including five in a row at Wimbledon from 1976 to 1980 before retiring – for the first time – aged 26. Borg was the first male tennis player to earn a million dollars in a season in 1979. “It’s hard when you’re number 1. You have no privacy, you can’t even walk. anywhere. I think that’s one of the reasons why I lost my motivation to play tennis,” Borg said when he resigned.

CARPET WILANDER

At 17, Sweden’s Wilander beat Argentina’s Guillermo Vilas 1-6, 7-6, 6-0, 6-4 in a four-hour, 42-minute marathon final at Roland Garros in 1982, despite the fact that it was not classified. Wilander was widely praised for his sportsmanship in his loss to Jose Luis Clerc in the semi-finals when he requested a replay of match point after a forehand from his opponent was called long. Wilander would eventually become a world number one, ending his career with seven Grand Slam titles.

BORIS BECKER

Becker burst onto the scene with his first Wimbledon triumph in 1985 at the age of 17. His 6-3, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 win over Kevin Curren made him the tournament’s youngest men’s champion and its first unranked winner. . The German served, stole and dived right and left, delighting the center court crowd. Becker would win six majors, but fell out of favor last month when he was jailed in the UK after a bankruptcy trial.

STEFAN EDBERG

Sweden’s Edberg was 19 when he won his first Slam at the 1985 Australian Open, beating Wilander 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 after beating Ivan Lendl in the marathon semi-final 6-7 , 7-5, 6-1, 4-6, 9-7. The elegant serve-volleyball player won a second Australian Open in 1987 and also won four more Grand Slams at Wimbledon in 1988 and 1990 and the US Open in 1991 and 1992.

MICHAEL CHANG

Chang became the youngest male player in history to win a Grand Slam tournament when he won the 1989 French Open at 17 years and three months. Chang beat Edberg 6-1, 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 after also knocking out world number one Lendl in a 4 hour 37 minute draw in which he had cramps and was forced to serve under the arms. He was the first American champion in Paris since Tony Trabert in 1955. Little Chang was also runner-up at the Australian Open and the US Open in 1996.

PETE SAMPRAS

Barely a month after his 19th birthday, ‘Pistol Pete’ won the first of his 14 Grand Slams at the 1990 US Open, beating fellow American Andre Agassi 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 in the New York final after seeing off Lendl and John McEnroe in the previous two rounds. Sampras finished his career with 64 titles, including seven at Wimbledon, two at the Australian Open and five at the US Open. His last major was in New York in 2002, bringing down the curtain with another win over Agassi.

RAFAEL NADAL

At 19, Nadal defeated Mariano Puerta in the 2005 Roland-Garros final, 6–7, 6–3, 6–1, 7–5. It was his first major title and the first of a record 13 Roland Garros triumphs. The Spaniard, who now has 21 majors, won on his Paris debut, the first man to do so since Wilander in 1982. He was also the youngest champion since Chang in 1989. Interestingly, 2005 also saw the debut at Roland-Garros by Novak Djokovic who made the second round where he gave up against Guillermo Coria. Nadal was the last teenager to win a Slam – a feat that eluded arch-rivals Djokovic and Federer.

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