In the world of tennis, Wimbledon is the grandest stage of them all. The tournament has been around since 1877 and serves as one of the four Grand Slam events. But while each year brings thrills to fans all over the world, 2019 had something special to offer: A 15-year-old player beating Venus Williams in straight sets in the first round. So who is this prodigy? It’s time we all know who Cori “Coco” Gauff is.
The Wild Card Who Proved Her Worth
Coco Gauff has had a stellar year so far. Last March, she played at the Miami Open. This was her debut at an event organized by the Women’s Tennis Association. There, she scored an opening match victory and secured a wild card for the qualifying draw in Wimbledon — making her the youngest person ever to do so. Still, that wasn’t enough to put her in the headlines.
What did get the media talking about the 15-year-old player from Atlanta, Georgia, is her win over Venus Williams. Everyone knows who the Williams sisters are. If men’s tennis has Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, women’s tennis has Maria Sharapova and Venus and Serena Williams. For Gauff to win against a legend on her Wimbledon debut is no small feat.
You see, Venus was a five-time Wimbledon winner and was currently ranked No. 44 in the world. On the other hand, the Gauff was at No. 313. There was not only a clear difference in age but also in experience. Yet the young player beat the odds, winning the first round — and the second and third.
A Surge in Popularity — Online and Offline
It was clear that more people had gotten word of Coco Gauff after her first Wimbledon match. For her winning third round against 28-year-old and world No. 60 Polona Hercog, the venue was moved to the Centre Court. For any aspiring tennis player, this was the holy grail — the main court of Wimbledon. Fans without show court tickets even began to crowd Henman Hill just to see Gauff play on the big screen.
She eventually lost in the fourth round to Simona Halep, but she already captured the hearts of many. Her Instagram follower count rose from just 20,000 to over 390,000. Moreover, she got noticed by several celebrities, three of whom were former US first lady Michelle Obama and American rappers Snoop Dogg and Jaden Smith.
Patience and the Value of Humility
With all the attention Coco Gauff is getting, it’s inspiring to see how well she’s handling herself. She hasn’t become an arrogant teenager after getting so much praise in just a week. Why? Because she knows that it wasn’t mere luck that put here in Wimbledon. She knew that she was good at — and that there was a future for her in tennis.
Simply put, Gauff worked hard. She became the world No. 1 junior. LShe already won at the French Open and US Open last year before stepping into Wimbledon. More importantly, she knows that there is a lesson to be learned in defeat, saying that she’s a fighter who will pursue her dreams no matter what.
After her Wimbledon stint, she’s richer by at least $200,000 and her rank has gone up to No. 139. But if she remains grounded despite all the attention, that won’t be the end of her career. Coco Gauff has a bright future ahead, and there’s no need to hurry — she’s just a high school kid, after all.