Cori 'Coco' Gauff: The rise of Wimbledon's teenage superstar
"Coco, Coco, Coco" chanted Center Court as Cori Gauff battled against Venus Williams, Coco's idol from a very young age. This young lady from Delray Beach Florida left her mark on the tennis world after defeating the five-time Wimbledon Champion in straight sets.
Soon after, Coco rushed past Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round where the world got a glimpse of the teenager's power hitting and speed. The third round match was clearly the highlight of her Wimbledon run as the prodigy showed her composure against Polona Hercog by saving two match points. In a well fought final set which ended seven games to five, Coco was victorious.
Catching the headlines in almost every country, Coco Guaff has become the most talked about 15-year-old in the world. She possesses every characteristic of a future tennis champion such as world class strokes, lightning fast speed, never say die attitude, and the compose to handle pressure on the biggest stage.
Coco, who has been a former junior World Number 1, has also been successful in her doubles career. She won the Junior US Open with partner Caty McNally in 2018. She has also played in two ITF Finals, the ITF Midland and ITF Surprise. In the singles event at the Junior Grand Slams, Coco's highlight was her win at the 2018 French Open and finishing as runner-up from the 2017 US Open.
Not many 15-year-old girls are lauded by Beyoncé and Michelle Obama on social media. Nor do they have million dollar endorsements from companies like New Balance and Head. These factors and the thousands of supporters behind Coco create a pressure that can be overwhelming even for players who are further in their career.
The future certainly isn’t going to be straightforward for Coco Gauff and other senior athletes have realized that. Many have come out and given her valuable advice.
Tennis great Rafael Nadal, who had a great Wimbledon, told reporters in a press conference that Coco should enjoy her time on court and work hard off court. He also said that she should not miss too many aspects of her childhood and live as normal a life as possible.
The great Billie Jean King, who has won a staggering 39 Grand Slams and is an advocate for gender equality and social justice, said that Coco received more than 400 calls for sponsorship and endorsements after Wimbledon.
Coco’s Wimbledon campaign came to an end against Simona Halep, who eventually went on to lift the beautiful Venus Rosewater Dish after defeating Venus Williams in the summit clash.
However, Coco has certainly done herself a favor by getting past some big names in the tennis circuit. With a fine showing from Wimbledon 2019, the question which pops up is - Can she maintain this momentum and prove to be one of the greatest ever female players in tennis history?
Certainly, she has started well but only more tournaments over time will give us the answer to that question.