The Next One

 
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Coco Gauff’s Wimbledon Takeover

Want to feel old? Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff was born in 2004, and she just won three matches at Wimbledon. The 15-year-old’s storied run captured the sports world in the last week, but it came to an end on Monday. Here’s what you need to know about Coco, the next one coming for tennis stardom.

Born to collegiate athletes in Delray Beach, Florida, Gauff fell in love with tennis at the age of four thanks to – you guessed it – the Williams sisters. She started playing at the age of six and dedicated her childhood to a career in tennis.

Her parents and coaches knew she was special by age 8 – really special. So, they quit their full-time jobs to homeschool and coach Coco so she could focus on the sport. Her mother Candi teaches while her father Corey is still her primary coach.

The nickname? With a Corey and a Cori, something had to give. Don’t get it confused with CoCo (Colleen) Vandeweghe.

By age 10, Coco was already represented by Roger Federer’s agency, and she trained with Patrick Mouratoglou, the longtime coach of Serena Williams. She was a star in the making, and the tennis world knew it.

In her early teen years, the Florida star went deep into the ITF Circuit’s U.S. Open at age 13, and she won the ITF French Open one year later.

Coco participated in her first WTA competition just four months ago in the Miami Open. She received a wild card draw for Wimbledon and earned her way into the field. That was an accomplishment in itself, but what came next was nearly unbelievable.

Coco wowed Wimbledon and the world with a teenage takeover that started with one of the greatest moments of the year – a 15-year-old phenom defeating one of her idols in Venus Williams (6-4, 6-4). It was the 313th ranked player in the world knocking off No. 44.

She steamrolled her next opponent in straight sets before putting everyone (who wasn’t already captivated) on notice with a match now known as “The Coco Comeback.” A first set drop (3-6) set the stage for a 7-6 and 7-5 rally to serve up one emotional moment.

Her run would inevitably end at the hands of Simona Halep, the No. 7 player in world rankings who once reigned at No. 1.

Nonetheless, Coco Gauff can’t even drive a car, but she just worked the women at Wimbledon like a seasoned pro. With young stars like Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka ascending to the top of the rankings, I think we can say it… Coco Got Next.

 
Jeff Yoderjuly2019