Venus Williams is way too young to choose between Clinton and Dole in the upcoming US Presidential election. Beauty that she is, Anna Kournikova is way too young to marry and has probably never been kissed. And Martina Hingis may well have supped some champers to celebrate her US Open successes, but she is too young to buy alcohol. This talented teenage trio are the tennis children, the latest kids toeing the service line. Like Graf, Seles, Austin and Capriati before them they have hit the big time ahead of their 16th birthdays, winning hearts with their youthful exuberance while amassing big bucks with their precocious play. Bubbly youths bubbling to the top in women's tennis is no phenomenon. Lottie Dod was 15 years and 285 days old when she won Wimbledon - way back in 1887 - and remains the youngest winner of the singles title. Dod was prodigy personified. She only lost five times before retiring from tennis at 21 and set about reaching the summits of other sports. She played hockey for England, won the British women's golf championship, took a silver medal for archery at the 1908 Olympic Games and chalked up an impressive life's innings of 88. Other mini-skirted, mini-marvels have not fared as well in the game of life. Tracey Austin had her adolescent achievements recorded in days - just 16 years and 271 days old when she became the youngest winner of the US Open in 1979 - but the brittleness of her young bones brought the curtain down early on the American's career. Jennifer Capriati, too, logged her successes in days, not years, from birth. She was, until last week, the most youthful US Open semi-finalist. And the youngest Olympic gold medallist, at 16. But as soon as the braces came off her teeth, Capriati started taking a bite out of the Big Apple. She began frequenting seedy rock 'n' roll joints and smoking state-altering joints. In so doing, she became a bit unhinged at the joints. Capriati has attempted a comeback but it seems that she has lost a bit of heart during the search for her soul. Steffi Graf and Monica Seles did not suffer similar anguish by fast-forwarding to womanhood although the latter did manage to rewind a little, as well as unwind, during an enforced break after she was stabbed. Russian Kournikova has spent a sheltered and sports-oriented six years at Nick Bollettieri's famed Florida tennis school and only time will tell if she is well enough equipped to deal with the stress of faultless serve and volleying for a living. Hingis replaced Capriati as the youngest US Open semi-finalist and hopefully that will not be too heavy a cross for her to bear. She seems, like the clocks made in her Swiss homeland, a reliable sort but, there again, nobody predicted that Capriati would go cuckoo from the strain of professional sport. In a week when Graf reached another Grand Slam final despite being taxed tremendously by outside pressures, Williams, Kournikova and Hingis should be mindful that while their parents might have been instrumental in guiding them to the top they are not to be trusted with the hard-earned lolly.