The 15-year-old from Florida, Cori Gauff, defeated tennis star Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon, becoming the youngest player to qualify for the competition.
Cori “Coco” Gauff, according to the tournament, is also the youngest player to win the first round of the ladies’ singles at Wimbledon in 28 years.
“Made for the big stage @CocoGauff becomes the youngest player since 1991 to win in the first round of the ladies’ singles, beating Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4,” Wimbledon tweeted.
Gauff started playing tennis when she was just seven years old and was coached by her father who played basketball at Georgia State University, BBC reported. At age 13, she became the youngest player to compete in the US Open girls singles finals and was the champion in that field at the French Open in 2018, according to the publication.
“My parents will be super happy, my dad was jumping up every time I won a point. I’m so happy they spent all their time on me and my brothers and making sure we’re successful,” Gauff told BBC following her win at Wimbledon.
The teen told The Guardian that she knew she had to go out and play the way she was taught.
“I wouldn’t say I didn’t expect to win the match,” Gauff stated. “I knew that I was going to go out there and play the way I play. I wasn’t surprised that I won. I mean, I was just overwhelmed at the end. I’ve never played on a court that big, the crowd was really wild. I was just surprised that people were cheering me on.”
In an interview, the teen said called Williams her “idol” and had “been dreaming to share the court with Venus.”
“I have nothing to lose playing against one of the greatest players of all time. I’m just super honored that I get to share the court with her,” Gauff said before the match.
Following her win, she told BBC that it was the first time she cried after a tennis match, and said Williams congratulated her on her win.
“I just told her I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her, she’s so inspiring. I’ve always wanted to tell her that but I’ve never had the guts to before,” she told the publication.
In an interview after the match, Williams said the “sky was the limit” for the 15-year-old, CNN reported. She also noted that she was not playing her best
“She played so well. Even all the shank balls went in,” said Williams, according to the news station. “I actually didn’t play well. It was a contrast. She put the ball in the court, which was much better than I did.”
In her career, Williams has won 49 Women’s Tennis Associations (WTA) singles titles, according to the WTA website. She has played in 18 championships and has won 801 career matches in total, according to Wimbledon.
Last year, Williams’ sister Serena lost to 20-year-old Naomi Osaka at the 2019 US Open. Serena clashed with chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who gave her a code violation warning and said he saw the tennis star’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou give her hand signals while he was in the stands. She also earned a penalty point for slamming her racket and was docked a game because Ramos claimed she was verbally abusing him, according to CNN.
After Osaka’s win, she was booed by many of the fans in the stands. Serena urged the crowd to stop booing and congratulate the 20-year-old on her win.
“Let’s give everyone the credit where credit’s due and let’s not boo anymore,” Williams said, according to CNN. “We’re going to get through this and let’s be positive. So congratulations, Naomi. No more booing.”
Osaka told BBC that she admired Serena and said she had written a report about her when she was in third grade for school.
“When I hugged Serena at the net I felt like a little kid again,” Osaka previously told the publication.
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.