Coco Gauff (2004-present)

Coco Gauff, the adept professional tennis player, first caught the world’s attention when she triumphed over Venus Williams at Wimbledon at the age of 15. Her exceptional journey reached another high point as she secured victory at the prestigious 2023 U.S. Open.

Coco Gauff, the young tennis sensation, secured her inaugural Grand Slam title at the US Open. Overcoming Aryna Sabalenka in a challenging three-set match, the 19-year-old American clinched a remarkable victory. Her remarkable achievement propelled her to the No. 3 spot in the WTA singles rankings, garnering praise from various notable figures, including President Joe Biden, and former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. Reflecting on her win during an interview on NBC’s Today show, Gauff shared, “It’s surreal even now. I keep reminding myself, ‘You’re a Grand Slam champion,’ but it hasn’t sunk in yet.”

Jump to:

  • Coco Gauff’s Current Success: Claims First Grand Slam Title at the US Open
  • Getting to Know Coco Gauff
  • Key Points to Note
  • Early Years and Family Background
  • Commencement of Tennis Journey
  • Entering the Professional Circuit
  • Participation in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
  • Triumphant Win at the 2023 US Open
  • Accolades and Brand Collaborations
  • Engagement in Activism

Introducing Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff, the American tennis player, made waves in 2019 when she secured a wild card entry to Wimbledon at the young age of 15. Her rapid ascent to fame was marked by a stunning victory over the renowned five-time tournament champion, Venus Williams, in the opening round. During the same year, Gauff showcased her prowess by advancing to the third round of the U.S. Open and claiming her inaugural singles title. Despite her selection for the U.S. Olympic team in June 2021, she had to withdraw from the postponed Tokyo Games due to a positive COVID-19 test. At the age of 19, she triumphed at the 2023 U.S. Open, clinching her first-ever Grand Slam title.

In Brief

  • NAME: Cori Dionne Gauff
  • BIRTH DATE: March 13, 2004
  • PLACE OF BIRTH: Delray Beach, Florida
  • ZODIAC SIGN: Pisces

Early Life and Parents

Cori Dionne Gauff was born on March 13, 2004, in Delray Beach, Florida, named in honor of her father, Corey. However, to avoid any mix-ups due to their similar names, her aunt playfully suggested the nickname “Coco,” derived from one of her father’s former monikers. Gauff comes from a family deeply rooted in athleticism, with her father, Corey, having played Division I basketball at Georgia State University, and her mother, Candi, excelling in gymnastics and participating in Division I track and field at Florida State University. Influenced by their athletic backgrounds, Gauff was introduced to tennis at the tender age of 6.

During her early years, the family resided in Georgia, where her mother worked as a teacher and her father pursued a career in the pharmaceutical industry. However, fueled by their commitment to support Gauff’s burgeoning tennis aspirations, they made the decision to relocate back to Delray Beach, with Candi taking charge of her daughter’s homeschooling and Corey assuming the role of her coach.

Early Tennis Career

Before the age of 10, Gauff embarked on a journey to France, where she trained under the guidance of Patrick Mouratoglou, renowned for coaching Serena Williams. While continuing her work with Mouratoglou, her primary coach remained her father.

Corey emphasized Gauff’s holistic development, stating, “We encouraged Coco to be a well-rounded athlete, engaging in various sports, including gymnastics, soccer, basketball, and track. Our goal was for her to cultivate skills as a versatile athlete.”

Gauff’s early successes included clinching the United States Tennis Association Clay Court National 12-under title in 2014. Subsequently, in 2017, she secured second place at the U.S. Open Girls Junior Championships, followed by her notable triumph as the junior champion at the French Open the following year.

Owing to regulations established by the Women’s Tennis Association in 1994, aspiring young tennis talents are unable to turn professional until they reach the age of 18, with certain provisions allowing participation in a restricted number of professional tournaments annually. There has been ongoing debate regarding whether these regulations, initially designed to safeguard players, might actually be excessively constraining. Due to the limitations on the number of tournaments allowed, there have been concerns about the potential impact on players’ ranking progression, as evidenced by Gauff’s gradual ascent during her initial years in competitive tennis.

Professional Tennis Career

Credit By: biography.com

In January 2019, Gauff shared her ambition with her inner circle—to secure a position among the top 100 ranked players in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) by the end of the year, despite holding the No. 685 ranking at that time. Making her WTA debut in March at the Miami Open, a mere week after her 15th birthday, she clinched her first victory against fellow American Caty McNally.

June 2019 witnessed Gauff’s exhilarating rush to London after obtaining a wild card entry to compete at Wimbledon. Her first-round opponent was none other than her tennis idol, the renowned five-time Wimbledon champion, Venus Williams. Gauff emerged victorious, attributing her newfound confidence to a pre-match discussion with former professional player Mary Joe Fernández. Her remarkable performance led her to the fourth round, marking her as the youngest player to achieve this since 1991 and sparking a phenomenon dubbed “Cocomania.”

Following her Wimbledon success, Gauff’s journey continued at the U.S. Open, where she advanced to the third round, once again becoming the youngest player to do so since 1991. Despite her defeat, a heartwarming display of sportsmanship ensued, with winner Naomi Osaka inviting Gauff to join her in the post-match interview.

In October 2019, Gauff secured her maiden WTA title at the Linz Open in Austria. This remarkable feat was made possible when she gained entry to the main draw as a “lucky loser” following another player’s withdrawal due to injury. Simultaneously, Gauff reached No. 71 in the global rankings, successfully achieving the personal target she had set. Concluding the year at No. 68, her journey continued to unfold.

The year 2020 saw Gauff’s remarkable progression, marked by her advancement to the fourth round of the Australian Open after a victorious match against Osaka in the third round. In 2021, she reached the quarterfinals of the French Open, emerging as the youngest player to do so since 2006. Additionally, her commendable performance led her to the fourth round of Wimbledon and clinching another WTA singles title in Parma, Italy.

In the realm of doubles, Gauff has participated in and triumphed in several tournaments, frequently partnering with McNally. However, an unfortunate injury prevented McNally from joining Gauff at the 2021 French Open, leading Gauff to pair up with Venus Williams, although they were unable to progress beyond the first round.

In a candid essay published in 2020, Gauff revealed her struggles with the pressure to achieve success rapidly, along with a year-long battle with depression. She reflected on how her perspective shifted when she realized the significance of playing for herself rather than to meet others’ expectations. Gauff expressed that overcoming these challenges left her stronger and more self-aware than ever before.

2020 Tokyo Olympics

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a one-year postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. In 2021, Gauff’s remarkable performance at the French Open in June earned her a spot on the U.S. Olympic team, setting her on track to become the youngest tennis Olympian since 2000 at the age of 17.

Unfortunately, Gauff’s aspirations were thwarted as a positive COVID-19 test compelled her to withdraw from the Games. On July 18, 2021, she expressed her disappointment via Twitter, stating, “I am deeply saddened to share that I have tested positive for COVID and will be unable to participate in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Representing the USA at the Olympics has always been a dream of mine, and I remain hopeful for future opportunities to make this dream a reality. I extend my best wishes to TEAM USA and wish all the Olympians and the entire Olympic family a safe and successful Games.”

2023 US Open Victory

Credit By: biography.com

Despite maintaining a consistently strong position within the top 10 rankings since September 2022, Gauff had yet to secure a major tournament victory, her notable achievement being the runner-up position at the 2022 French Open. However, her perseverance paid off as she finally clinched her first-ever Grand Slam title at the 2023 U.S. Open.

Throughout the tournament, she triumphed in a total of seven matches, including three notable victories against players ranked within the top 20, culminating in a decisive three-set win over Belarusian player Aryna Sabalenka on September 9. Gauff’s victory marked her as the youngest American woman to claim the prestigious title since Serena Williams in 1999.

Winnings and Endorsements

In 2019, Gauff’s prize earnings amounted to $538,103, followed by $509,862 in 2020. Her success continued to surge, surpassing the million-dollar mark in 2021. Following her groundbreaking victory at the U.S. Open in 2023, Gauff’s prize money escalated to an impressive $3 million, contributing to her overall career earnings, which, as reported by the WTA, now exceed $11 million.

Furthermore, Gauff has established lucrative partnerships with various brands, including New Balance, Barilla, Bose, UPS, and Baker Tilly. Her professional interests are overseen by Team8, an agency co-founded by the esteemed tennis champion Roger Federer.

Activism

As of September 2023, Gauff boasts a substantial online following, with over 1.5 million followers on Instagram and more than half a million on TikTok. Leveraging her influence, she has fearlessly addressed critical issues such as climate change and racial inequality.

Reflecting on her commitment, Gauff emphasized in 2019, “My generation has recognized the need to independently voice concerns about various issues. I am actively engaged in the [climate] movement and exploring ways to effect positive change in my own lifestyle and that of my family.” Years before Juneteenth was recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, she used her online platform to share information about its significance with her followers.

In 2020, Gauff notably participated in a Black Lives Matter protest in Florida, underscoring that she stood against the very injustices her grandmother had fought against “50-plus years ago.” Her active involvement in social advocacy has amplified her impact beyond the world of tennis.

Reference

https://www.biography.com/athlete/coco-gauff

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Coco-Gauff

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