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Who Is Wimbledon Star Cori Gauff?
26 July 2019
Cori Gauff is an amazing American 15 year old who was guaranteed a place in Wimbledon history even before she even stepped out onto the court. Catching the eye of all tennis fans who take an interest in online sports betting, this vibrant teenager is the youngest player ever to manage to qualify for the prestigious British tennis tournament. And she announced her Wimbledon arrival in the most sensational way possible by beating Venus Williams, one of her own sporting heroes, in her very first match. Cori’s two-set triumph over an astonished Venus Williams finished up 6-4 6-4.
As well as being the youngest player ever to appear at Wimbledon, Cori is also the youngest-ever finalist to have reached the women's' singles event at the US Open. Her Wimbledon opponent, Venus Williams (39) is the oldest female player in this year’s women’s singles draw and has won five Wimbledon titles during her own illustrious career. Still very much in her high school years, Gauff actually had to complete a high school science test just the day before competing in the finals of the Wimbledon qualifying tournament.
Born in Atlanta but raised in Florida, Gauff, who prefers the nickname Coco, first broke her fellow American’s serve in the fifth game of the match. She then proceeded to hold out to love in the next game via a cheeky backhand drop shot, before efficiently closing out the set 6-4 with the aid of her surprisingly punchy serve.
Performing on the big stage
In the second set, two back-to-back double faults by Williams in the fifth game saw her broken to love by her opponent. Using all her experience, Williams broke back for 4-4, only for the teenage Gauff to take the following game against the serve and then dramatically hold (by finally grasping a fourth opportunity) as the crowd erupted in a spontaneous outburst of celebration.
Obviously happy, yet also somewhat stunned by her first-day Wimbledon victory, Cori admitted in her post-match interviews that she found it difficult to explain just how she felt. ‘That's the first time I have ever cried after winning a match,’ she said, adding: ‘I had to tell myself to stay calm, I have never played on such a big court. I had to remind myself of the lines on the court. Everything around it might be bigger, but the lines are the same.’
Speaking about her opponent Venus Williams’ reaction to the defeat, Cori reported: ‘She just told me congratulations and to keep going and good luck.’ But, with a generosity of spirit which bodes well for her future in the sport, the teenager acknowledged the inspiration she herself had drawn from the success Venus had enjoyed during her career: ‘I told her thank you for everything. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her, she is so inspiring and I always wanted to tell her that, even though I met her before I didn't have the guts to tell her then.’
An inspired seven-year-old
Cori, who obviously comes from a great sporting family, first started playing tennis at the age of seven. Her father Corey played basketball at Georgia State University in the United States, while her mother was a track and field athlete at Florida State University. Gauff is coached by her father and says she took up tennis as a sport inspired by the impact the 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and her equally successful sister Venus were having on the sport. Talking about this inspiration, Cori said: ‘Serena is the reason why I play tennis and why my dad decided to get me a racket.’
Like the rest of the Wimbledon crowd, Cori’s parents were beside themselves with excitement. And after the game, Cori said: ‘I know my parents are super happy, my dad was jumping up every time I won a point.’
Having secured the junior French Open title in 2018, just two months after she turned 14, Cori has tasted success on a big sporting stage before. But her Wimbledon victory was something of a very different order: ‘I am literally living my dream right now.’ she confessed, ‘and not many people get to say that.’
Those in the tennis world who have seen champions emerge before are now looking at the teenager’s progress with renewed interest. Cori’s agent is part of Roger Federer’s management group, so she will have the benefit of excellent professional advice. And Forbes reports that, thanks to an ever-growing list of willing sponsors, Gauff is reliably predicted to be on course to earn around $1m (£790,000) from her off-court activities alone during 2019.
With her success against Venus Williams, Cori now becomes the youngest tennis player to win a Wimbledon Tournament match at Wimbledon since 1991. And back then, it was another American, Jennifer Capriati – who was also just 15 – who stunned the crowds. Many tennis fans will remember she also pulled off a shock victory by defeating the nine-times champion Martina Navratilova.
Now giving his professional verdict as a respected sports-media pundit, the tennis legend and former three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe said of Cori Gauff: ‘I look at the way she plays. If she's not number one in the world by 20 I will be absolutely shocked.’