Everything to Know About Cori Gauff, the 15-Year-Old Tennis Star Who Beat Venus Williams
Gauff, who is ranked No. 301 in the world, is based out of Delray Beach, Florida, and started playing tennis at age 7
Wimbledon’s youngest ever qualifier Cori “Coco” Gauff added another big accomplishment to her growing list by beating her idol, Venus Williams on Monday.
At 15 years old, the tennis prodigy took on Williams, 39, in the first round of women’s singles at the Wimbledon tournament on Monday.
“She put the ball in the court, which was much better than I did. She served well, moved well. It was a great match for her,” Williams said of her opponent after the match.
Gauff, who was born on March 13, 2004, was not even born when Williams reached her four of nine Wimbledon finals.
Gauff, who is ranked No. 301 in the world, is based out of Delray Beach, Florida, and has been a rising star for years, winning multiple junior titles before making it to Wimbledon this year.
As Gauff continues in the English championships, here’s everything to know about the teenage tennis star.
Following in many famous, young athlete’s footsteps, the high school student’s primary coach is none other than her father, Corey Gauff.
A former Georgia State University basketball player, Corey Gauff trains his daughter at Serena William’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou’s French tennis academy, according to the New York Times.
“I’ve always challenged her, from the beginning of this when we started, telling her that she’ll be able to change the world with her racket,” he told the Times of his daughter, who started playing tennis at age 7.
As she gets older, Gauff told the Sun Sentinel in June 2018 that it can sometimes be hard having her dad also be her coach.
“When we were younger, it was pretty easy,” she said. “And then when I turned, I would say, 12 or 13, we used to argue, because he used to be annoying because he would bring tennis home, and he’s always around me. So now we talked, and we understand each other now more.”
Candi Gauff, Coco’s mom, was once a star athlete herself, when she was a standout for Florida State University’s Track and Field in the heptathlon.
Candi told the Sun Sentinel that she sometimes stands as the mediator between her husband and daughter.
“There was a breaking point, and I stopped it and went to the center of the court and said, ‘This is Switzerland. This is where, if you have a problem, you come here and discuss it,’ ” she said of bringing son and daughter together in a tense moment.
Defeating Her Idol
Both Venus and Serena Williams have been role models for the young tennis star, but the famous sisters have also become her fans.
Gauff’s first Instagram post is a photo with Serena, who had said that the young star reminds her of her sister and of herself.
According to the New York Times, before Monday’s match, Gauff said, she “would love to share the court with Serena or Venus.”
“Corey is such an exciting young player. She’s so cool,” Serena said at a pre-tournament press conference.
Of the match-up between Venus and Gauff, the mother of one said, “It’s a great moment for her and for Venus.”
On the Rise
Gauff is already sponsored by big-name brands including Barilla and New Balance, which she can often be seen wearing at matches and on her Instagram.
The sneaker and athletic wear giant began sponsoring Gauff last year when she was only 14, CNN reported.
“I want to be a role model to as many young athletes as possible,” Gauff said in a New Balance statement announcing her sponsorship.
When Gauff isn’t jet setting around the world from match to match, she enjoys the same things that other teenagers do.
Her favorite music acts include Jaden Smith, whom she Instagrammed an announcement of his new album dropping in November, and Ariana Grande, whose Sweetener tour concert was attended by Gauff.
The tennis phenom is also a Marvel fan, dressing up as “Daughter of Oden” for Halloween last year.
Gauf also uses her social media for good, most recently linking to a UNICEF article about the crisis in Sudan and asking people to donate.
“During Black History Month I was posting one random fact that you don’t learn at school a day,” Gauff told the New York Times. “Because there’s so many things that I didn’t know if it wasn’t for the internet and social media.”
In round two of the championships, Gauff will be playing Magdalena Rybarikova on Wednesday.
Rybarikova, who is a former 2017 semifinalist, will also be a tough opponent. The 30-year-old defeated No.10 seed Aryna Sabalenka on Monday in a 6-2, 6-4 first round upset.