American tennis prodigy Coco Gauff was a little known qualifier at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships, where she was pitted against Venus Williams in the opening round. Williams, who was a 5-time Wimbledon champion was the overwhelming favourite to win the match and advance to the next round.
However, tennis lovers were shocked when Gauff beat Venus Williams 6-4, 6-4. Six months down the line, history repeated itself as Gauff showed that her win at the All England Club was no fluke as she once again dispatched Williams in the opening round of the Australian Open 2020. She also became the youngest American tennis star to enter the third round of a Grand Slam which even the Williams sisters (Venus and Serena) could not achieve.
Gauff was born the year after Venus Williams lost the 2003 Australian Open final to younger sister Serena. The youngster grew up watching the Williams sisters, who share a total of 30 Grand Slam trophies between them. Gauff started playing tennis at age of 7, and by the time she turned 13, she had already started making an impression at a junior level making it to the girls’ final of the 2017 United States Open.
In 2018, she won the girls’ final of the French Open, ended the year with a win at the Orange Bowl tournament. In October last year, the 15-year-old Coco Gauff defeated Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 1-6 6-2 to lift the 2019 Linz Open. By winning the title, she became the youngest player to win a WTA title at the age of 15 and what made it even more special was that she qualified for the main draw as a lucky loser after losing in the final round of qualifying.
Coco Gauff made her debut inside Top 100 after winning her maiden title in Linz in 2019. Gauff became the youngest woman to make her Top 100 debut since Sesil Karatantcheva who did it as a young 15-year-old in the January 31, 2005 rankings. She had also become the youngest American woman to make her Top 100 debut since April 9, 1990, when Jennifer Capriati did it just 11 days after her 14th birthday.
According to a report in New York Times, in December last year, Gauf got an opportunity to train alongside Serena Williams when Serena Williams’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, had organised a pre-season training camp in Boca Raton, Florida along with Chris Eubanks and Marius Copil. Both Serena and Gauff often practised separately with their teams. But there was plenty of bonding off the court with dinners, karaoke sessions and a dance performance that was filmed and posted online.
Coco Gauff and Serena Williams have already entered the third round of the Australian Open. Both the American players are on course to face each other at the quarterfinal stage if they win their respective third-round matches. While Coco Gauff is scheduled to face defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round, Serena Williams will face Qiang Wang in her third-round match.