The most intriguing encounter in the Round of 128 in this year Wimbledon is between 15-year old wildcard Cori Gauff and veteran, Venus. The gulf in age between them is a staggering 24 years. Coincidentally, she being the youngest competitor, faces the oldest woman in the singles, who has 7 Grand Slams under her belt. Before Cori was born in 2004, 4 of Venus’ 7 major titles were already in the bag. She is the first 15-year old to be handed a wildcard since Laura Robson in 2009. But who is Cori Grauff? Is she another tennis prodigy to grace the sport since Martina Hingis?
Currently ranked world number 301, prodigy Gauff, nicknamed “Coco” now living in Delray Beach Florida was born in Atlanta, Georgia. She hails from a sporting family. Her father Corey, played Baseball and her mother, Candy ran track at Georgia State University and Florida State University respectively. Gauff is a young, tall, black American, with a huge serve, strong all-court game and athletic physique. Home-schooled by her mother, Cori was inspired by the Willaims sisters to “pick up a racket”. And is “excited to see how she does” “playing one of the greatest players of all time”. She has at so many times been likened to Serena Willaims.
Remember the name.
Aged 15 years and 122 days, America’s @CocoGauff becomes the youngest #Wimbledon qualifier in the Open Era after beating Greet Minnen 6-1, 6-1 pic.twitter.com/PSWlOiRNkB
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 27, 2019
This will be the first time she will make the draw of the women’s singles Grand Slam but she has been tipped for stardom. She was the youngest to win an under-18 event in the United States at the age of 12 and went on to play the final of the US Open Juniors. Although, lost in the final in 2017, at 13 years of age.
So, being here now is not as strange as she has been living the dream since 12 and has found a way of dealing with the pressure. That’s one thing the top top players are able to do – “deal with the pressure”. Coco won 6-1, 6-1 against Greet Minnen in the final round of qualifying on Thursday in less than an hour. She made history to become the youngest woman to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon since the tennis’ Open Era began in 1968.
“Coco”, represented by Team 8 Management Company set up by Federer and his agent Tony Godsick is coached by her father. She is not under pressure from her parents. Rather, asked her never to put limitations on her goals but rather shoot as high as she wanted to.
Cori has been backed by top tennis players including Serena Williams and Swiss great, Roger Federer. Federer “is super happy for her”. He says, “it is exciting she plays Venus now” admitting that “she is a nice girl that works really hard”. He “thinks she has a wonderful future ahead of her”.
Serena, who usually gets nervous watching her sister Venus play is also fascinated and might watch the game. Saying “she is a nice girl” and “reminds her of Venus” who Gauff says does not see Venus as old but admits her longevity inspires her.
The game will take place mid-afternoon Monday on Court One while Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka will take center court.