What to Know About Cori Gauff, the 15-Year-Old Making History at Wimbledon
She made a memorable debut by defeating her idol, Venus Williams.
You may not know Cori Gauff's name just yet, but you will soon.
Not only is the tennis star making her main draw debut at Wimbledon today as the youngest player to qualify, she's also doing it by playing against Venus Williams.
Here's what you need to know about the 15-year-old making history at Wimbledon this year.
She's the Youngest Qualifier in Wimbledon History
Gauff, who goes by "Coco," is the youngest player ever to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon since the sport's professional era began in 1968, having come through three matches in qualifying rounds without losing a set.
She also won the junior French Open title in 2018 at age 14 — no big deal.
She's Facing Off Against Her Idol
As if making history as the youngest qualifier wasn't enough, she's also competing against her idol, Venus Williams, who at age 39 is the oldest player in the draw. To put things into context, Venus had reached four of her nine Wimbledon finals before Gauff was even born.
The match is already drawing attention from tennis greats like Roger Federer and Venus's sister, Serena Williams.
“I’m super happy for her,” Federer told The Guardian about Gauff. “I think it’s a great storyline. I hope they put them on a big court. I think that would be a great, wonderful experience for Coco and Venus anyway. It’s a great story. Coco is a nice girl, works really hard. I think she’s obviously got a wonderful future ahead of herself.”
Serena told The Guardian that while she rarely watches her sister play, she might have to make an exception for this match.
“It’s a great moment for her and for Venus," she said. "It’s going to be a big moment for Venus, as well. She actually reminds me of Venus, kind of, her body and everything. She’s such a fantastic young lady. She works very hard. Every time I see her out there working, training, her and her dad. It reminds me of the time where I was out there with my dad. I can’t help but look inside of myself and be proud and be happy for her. It’s really nice to see.”
Her Mother Is Also a Star Athlete
The apple didn't fall too far from the tree — Gauff's mother is Candi Odom, a former track and field star.
She's Had Unique Training
According to The Guardian, Gauff is home-schooled by her mom in addition to being coached by her dad. She's also worked with Serena Williams's trainer, Patrick Mouratoglou, for the past few years, who has praised her ability to handle so many expectations at a young age.
“She is one of the players that experienced incredible pressure at an early age,” Mouratoglou said. “You don’t see that often, because it’s very rare to see someone under the spotlight that early, and usually even players who are 15, 16, 17 when they start to have that pressure, most of them don’t do well with that."
Whether or not she wins the match, Gauff is definitely one to watch.