Youngsters winning Wimbledon now a teenage dream, says Konjuh

Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:01pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Michael Hann

LONDON (Reuters) - A decade ago a fresh-faced Maria Sharapova won the Wimbledon title at the age of 17, following in the footsteps of Martina Hingis in making an early breakthrough.

No teenager has lifted the Venus Rosewater Dish since Sharapova’s victory over Serena Williams in 2004 and 16-year-old Croat Ana Konjuh thinks none is likely to.

Konjuh played former world number one Caroline Wozniacki In Wimbledon's third round on Friday, the youngest player to reach the third round of a grand slam since 16-year-old Michelle Larcher de Brito at the French Open in 2009.

Despite battling bravely and delighting the crowd with punchy forehand and deft touches at the net, Konjuh slipped to a 6-3 6-0 defeat against the 16th seed.

Asked whether a teenager would win Wimbledon again, Konjuh, ranked 189 in the world, said: "I think it is near impossible."

Young players are restricted in the number of tournaments they can enter and Konjuh, who won the junior Australian Open title in 2013, said their progress can be stalled by a lack of playing time.

"They put that rule in because they don’t want a 16-year-old to win Wimbledon," Konjuh, who began playing tennis at the age of five, said. "That’s fine because if you are good you are going to get through anyway.

"When you have a whole year for 16 tournaments, it’s like one and half tournaments per month - it’s nothing. "It’s the rule here so they can protect us," Konjuh said.   Continued...

Ana Konjuh of Croatia hits a return to Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their women's singles tennis match at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, in London June 27, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett