Yesterday evening on centre court , 39 year old Venus Williams faced the youngest Wimbledon qualifying player in the Open era.
Cori Gauff is a 15 year old American teen, currently ranked 301st in the World and qualified as a wild card after beating Greet Minnen, 6-1 and 6-1.
In her inaugural grand slam match, Gauff known as “Coco” showed great composure and remarkable talent beating Venus Williams, 6-2 and 6-2. Williams had won four of her seven grand slam tournaments, including two of her Wimbledons all before “Coco” had been born. There hasn’t been this much excitement in womens tennis since the arrival of the Venus sisters on the scene well over twenty years ago. Last night’s matches were not easily won, Williams fought for every point but “Coco” showed tenacity and resilience way beyond her years to break Williams game.
“I wouldn’t say I didn’t expect to win the match,” Gauff said. “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.”
“Coco” told the media it was the Williams sister’s who inspired her to pick up a racket so to beat one of her idols is a dream come true.
“They’re the reason why I wanted to pick up a tennis racket,” Gauff said of Venus and her younger sister, Serena. “And I met them both, and they’re both super kind people, and I’m just super happy and thankful that they chose to play tennis.”
Although little has been known about the American teen on a professional international level, she was the youngest finalist in the US Open junior event at 13, she won the French Open juniors last year and she shares a management group with Roger Federer and already has sponsorship deals worth more than $1m this year alone. “Coco” is the rising star of the sport and no doubt we will hear much more about her in the weeks and months to come. Even Williams said “The sky’s the limit,” for Coco.
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