Wimbledon 2019: Cori Gauff’s victory over Venus Williams
- A sport psychology perspective of a contest between an emerging player and one of the all-time great's.
Her previous straight set victory against Belgium’s Greet Minnen, brought the 15-year-old, Cori Gauff to the main draw of the Wimbledon this year and a step closer to achieving her dreams.
“Obviously, I don’t care who I play I’m just happy to be in the draw but I would love to share the court with Serena. If I played anyone of them it would be a dream come true”, exclaimed the American as she sealed her place in the main draw.
Cori Gauff, the US Open Junior champion, who began her tennis journey taking inspiration from the Williams sisters was brought face to face on court against Venus Williams in the main draw.
Gauff seized her moment in her match against her idol and a celebrated player, by defeating her 6-4, 6-4 and emerged as a rising star in this Grand Slam.
Her happiness and excitement to play Venus never changed course and she seemed well equipped to tackle any challenges.
Competing against a legendary player can play on your mind and can get you caught in a chain of self-defeating thoughts snatching your self- confidence away, leaving you in a state of threat.
But Gauff’s self belief stood like a pillar of strength protecting her from any bombarding of self-doubts or pressure. She displayed her ability to channelize an overflow of awe, excitement or nervousness into an opportunity to execute a winning plan.
Gauff was able to contain her emotions and perceive this potentially stressful situation as a challenge and not a threat.
After her victory, she exclaimed,
“I’m super shocked. I mean I never expected this to happen. Obviously I literally got my dream draw so I’m just super happy I was able to pull it out today.”
Her determination to win reflected in her preparedness before the match, in her performance throughout the match as well as in her conduct after. Maintaining composure while competing against an established champion, at such a young age, requires mental fortitude. An upsurge of emotion can easily disrupt your concentration in a game of such personal significance. However, Gauff held her nerve and stayed focused.
The psychological strength of the youngest player at Wimbledon, reflected in her spectacular performance against the oldest player at the tournament, and undoubtedly contributed to her commendable victory.
So athletes, prepare yourself well – physically as well as mentally!
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