Coco Gauff

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Coco Gauff
Gauff WMQ19 (24).jpg
ITF nameCori Gauff
Country (sports) United States
Born (2004-03-13) March 13, 2004 (age 16)
Delray Beach, Florida, U.S.
Height1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Turned pro2018
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed backhand)
CoachCorey Gauff
Jean-Christophe Faurel[1]
Prize moneyUS$1,050,920
Singles
Career record47–26 (64.4%)
Career titles1
Highest rankingNo. 47 (October 26, 2020)
Current rankingNo. 47 (October 26, 2020)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open4R (2020)
French Open2R (2020)
Wimbledon4R (2019)
US Open3R (2019)
Doubles
Career record34–15 (69.4%)
Career titles2
Highest rankingNo. 42 (February 3, 2020)
Current rankingNo. 44 (October 12, 2020)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenQF (2020)
French Open3R (2020)
US Open3R (2019)
Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results
Wimbledon1R (2019)
US Open2R (2018)
Last updated on: October 15, 2020.

Cori "Coco" Gauff (born March 13, 2004) is an American tennis player. She is the youngest player ranked in the top 100 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and has a career-high ranking of No. 49 in the world in singles, and No. 42 in doubles. Gauff won her first WTA singles title at the 2019 Linz Open at the age of 15, making her the youngest singles title-holder on the WTA Tour since 2004. She also has won two WTA doubles titles with compatriot and fellow teenager Caty McNally. Gauff rose to prominence with an upset win over Venus Williams in the opening round at Wimbledon in 2019.

Born to athletic parents with NCAA Division I collegiate backgrounds in basketball and track and field, Gauff experimented with a variety of sports as a child. She chose to focus on tennis, having been inspired to play by the Williams sisters and because of her preference to compete in an individual sport. Gauff had quick success as a junior, earning a sponsorship to train at Patrick Mouratoglou's academy in France. She began playing on the ITF Junior Circuit at 13 and finished runner-up at the junior 2017 US Open in just her fourth ITF event, making her the youngest finalist in the tournament's history. She became the No. 1 junior in the world after winning the junior Grand Slam singles title over McNally at the 2018 French Open. She also won a junior Grand Slam doubles title at the 2018 US Open, this time partnering with McNally.

Gauff made her WTA Tour debut in March 2019 at the Miami Open and won her opening match. She received a wild card into the qualifying draw at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships where she became the youngest player in the tournament's history to qualify for the main draw. She reached the fourth round of the event, and each of her matches was the most-watched of the day in the United States. Gauff would later reach the third round of the 2019 US Open, and the fourth round of the 2020 Australian Open.

Early life and background[edit]

Gauff was born on March 13, 2004, to Candi (née Odom)[2] and Corey Gauff, both of whom are from Delray Beach, Florida.[3][4] She has two younger brothers, Codey who is four years younger and Cameron who is nine years younger.[5] Her father played college basketball at Georgia State University and later worked as a health care executive, while her mother was a track and field athlete at Florida State University and worked as an educator.[6] Gauff initially grew up in Atlanta, and first became interested in tennis at the age of four after watching Serena Williams win the 2009 Australian Open on television with her family.[7] Her parents encouraged her to try a wide variety of sports including basketball and track.[7] She began playing tennis at the age of six and decided she wanted to pursue it as a career because it was an individual sport and because of her early success in winning the "Little Mo" eight-and-under nationals at the age of eight. Gauff recalled, "I wasn't much of a team person. I loved tennis. I was so-so about it in the beginning because when I was younger I didn't want to practice at all. I just wanted to play with my friends. When I turned eight, that was when I played 'Little Mo' and after that I decided to do that for the rest of my life."[8][9]

When Gauff was seven years old, her family moved back to Delray Beach so that she would have better opportunities to train in tennis.[10][11] They initially lived with her mother's parents before getting their own house.[3] While in Florida, she worked with Gerard Loglo at the New Generation Tennis Academy for a few years starting from the age of eight.[9][12] Both of Gauff's parents gave up their careers to focus on training their daughter, with her father later taking over as her primary coach and her mother overseeing her homeschooling. Her father had limited experience playing tennis growing up.[6][9] At ten years old, Gauff also began to train at the Mouratoglou Academy in France that is run by Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams's longtime coach. Mouratoglou commented, "I'll always remember the first time I saw Coco. She came over to the Mouratoglou Academy in 2014 to try out and she impressed me with her determination, athleticism and fighting spirit... When she looks at you and tells you she will be number one, you can only believe it."[13] He helped sponsor Gauff through his Champ'Seed foundation, which he created to provide funding for talented junior tennis players who did not have the financial resources to afford high-level training.[14] Gauff continued to have success – winning the USTA Clay Court National 12-and-under title at the age of 10 years and 3 months old – to become the youngest champion in the tournament's history.[9]

Junior career[edit]

Gauff is a former world No. 1 junior.[15] She entered the prestigious Les Petits As 14-and-under tournament in 2016 at the age of 12 and made it to the semifinals.[16] Gauff began playing on the ITF Junior Circuit at the age of 13, skipping directly to the highest-level Grade A and Grade 1 tournaments. She finished runner-up to Jaimee Fourlis in her third career event, the Grade 1 Prince George's County Junior Tennis Championships in Maryland.[17] At her next event, Gauff made her junior Grand Slam debut at the 2017 US Open and again finished runner-up, losing to Amanda Anisimova.[18] She did not drop a set before the final in either tournament. Gauff also became the youngest girls' singles finalist in US Open history.[19] After beginning 2018 with a semifinal at the Grade 1 Traralgon Junior International in Australia, Gauff lost her opening round match at the Australian Open.[15] She did not enter another tournament in singles until French Open, where she won her first career junior Grand Slam tournament title. She did not drop a set until the final, where she came from behind to defeat compatriot Caty McNally in three sets. With the title, Gauff became the fifth youngest girls' singles champion in French Open history.[20] A month later following another final win against McNally at the Grade 1 Junior International Roehampton, she also became the No. 1 junior in the world.[21][22]

Gauff reached the quarterfinals in singles at each of the last 2 Grand Slam tournaments of the year. She fared better in doubles at both tournaments, reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon with partner María Lourdes Carlé and winning her first junior Grand Slam doubles title at the US Open with McNally as her partner.[15] Gauff and McNally defeated compatriots Hailey Baptiste and Dalayna Hewitt in the final, and won all of their matches in straight sets.[23] In September, Gauff represented the United States at the Junior Fed Cup with Alexa Noel and Connie Ma. The team reached the final against Ukraine. After Gauff won her singles rubber and Noel lost hers, Gauff and Noel won the Junior Fed Cup by defeating Lyubov Kostenko and Dasha Lopatetskaya in the decisive doubles rubber that ended 11–9 in a match tiebreak.[24] Gauff finished the year with another Grade A title in singles at the Orange Bowl.[25] She ended the season ranked No. 2 in the world behind Clara Burel.[26]

Professional career[edit]

2018–19: Wimbledon breakthrough, maiden WTA titles, top 100[edit]

Gauff at the 2019 French Open

Gauff made her debut on the ITF Women's Circuit in May 2018 as a qualifier in the $25K event at Osprey, where she won her first professional match.[27] She received a wild card into qualifying at the US Open, but lost her opening match 5 months after turning 14 years old.[28][29] In her first tournament of 2019, she finished runner-up in doubles at the $100K Midland Tennis Classic alongside Ann Li.[30] Two weeks later, Gauff played her next event at the $25K level in Surprise and reached the finals in both singles and doubles. Although she finished runner-up in singles, she won her maiden WTA title in doubles alongside Paige Hourigan against compatriots Usue Maitane Arconada and Emina Bektas.[31] In March, Gauff made her WTA main draw debut as a wild card at the Miami Open and recorded her first WTA match win against Caty McNally.[32] She lost her next match to Daria Kasatkina.[33]

After losing in the second round of qualifying at the French Open, Gauff qualified for the main draw at Wimbledon, after entering the qualifying draw using a wildcard. She upset world No. 92 Aliona Bolsova, the top seed in the qualifying draw, in the first round and defeated No. 128 Greet Minnen in the third and final qualifying round while only losing two games. Gauff also became the youngest player to reach the main draw at Wimbledon by qualifying in the Open Era at the age of 15 years and 3 months old.[34] In her main draw debut, she upset world No. 44 Venus Williams in straight sets.[35] She continued her run into the fourth round with victories over Magdaléna Rybáriková and No. 60 Polona Hercog, and needed to save two match points against Hercog in particular. The hype surrounding her first round match win helped lead to her third round match being scheduled on Centre Court.[36][37] She was eliminated with a fourth round loss to eventual champion Simona Halep.[38] All four of her matches were most-watched matches on ESPN on their respective days.[39] With this performance, Gauff rose to No. 141 in the world.[40]

Gauff played in one US Open Series tournament at the Citi Open, where she qualified for the main draw but lost in the first round.[41] She also entered the doubles event with Caty McNally and defeated Fanny Stollár and Maria Sanchez in the final for their first career WTA title in their first WTA event together.[42] At the US Open, Gauff was awarded wild cards into the singles and doubles main draws. She continued her Grand Slam success in singles with two three-set wins over Anastasia Potapova and Tímea Babos, both on the Louis Armstrong show court.[43][44] She was defeated in the third round by world No. 1 Naomi Osaka.[45] In doubles, Gauff and McNally also won two matches, including an upset over ninth seeds Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke.[46] They lost in the third round to eventual runners-up Ashleigh Barty and Victoria Azarenka.[47] Gauff entered two more tournaments following the US Open. Although she lost in qualifying at the Linz Open, she entered the main draw as a lucky loser and won the title, notably upsetting top seed Kiki Bertens in the quarterfinals for her first top ten victory.[48] She defeated Jeļena Ostapenko in the final to become the youngest WTA player to win a singles title since 2004.[49] With this title as well as a semifinal in doubles with McNally, she made her top 100 debuts in both the WTA singles and doubles rankings.[50] Gauff and McNally ended their year with a second WTA doubles title at the Luxembourg Open over Kaitlyn Christian and Alexa Guarachi.[51]

2020: Australian Open fourth round, continued progress throughout year[edit]

Starting the year ranked no. 67 in the world, Gauff started 2020 playing at the 2020 ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. In singles she defeated Viktoria Kuzmova before losing to Laura Siegemund in the second round.[52] Playing doubles with Caty McNally Gauff reached the semi-finals, losing to eventual champions Taylor Townsend and Asia Muhammad.

At the Australian Open, Gauff defeated Venus Williams in straight sets in the first round,[53] Sorana Cirstea in the second, and defending champion Naomi Osaka[54] in the third, becoming the youngest player to defeat a top 5 player since Jennifer Capriati beat Gabriela Sabatini at the 1991 US Open. In the fourth round, she lost to the eventual champion, Sofia Kenin, in three sets. This was her second of three majors she had played where she made it to the second week. [55] In doubles, Gauff and McNally recorded their best result in a Grand Slam to date, reaching the Quarterfinals before falling to 2nd seeds and eventual champions, Kristina Mladenovic and Tímea Babos in two sets.[56]

On the resumption of the WTA Tour following the COVID-19 pause, Gauff beat two top-50 players at the Top Seed Open before losing in straight sets to world no. 49 Jennifer Brady. At the Western and Southern Open, played in New York, Gauff lost in the first round to world no. 21 Maria Sakkari. At the 2020 US Open, Gauff was defeated in the first round by Anastasija Sevastova.[57]

As the tour moved onto clay Gauff, ranked 53, beat world no. 34 Ons Jabeur in the first round of the Internationali BNL D’Italia before losing to two-time grand slam champion Garbine Muguruza. And at the 2020 French Open, Gauff defeated the ninth seed and world No. 13 Johanna Konta in the first round, but went on to lose to eventual quarter-finalist Martina Trevisan in a second round match in which Gauff hit 19 double faults. The Trevisan loss was the first time Gauff lost to a player outside the top 100 since she lost to Tamara Korpatsch in the second round in qualifying at the Linz Open.

The final stages of the 2020 season saw Gauff take a wildcard into the qualifying draw at the J & T Banka Ostrava Open 2020. Gauff qualified for the main draw and was defeated by world no. 12 Aryna Sabalenka in the second round.

Endorsements[edit]

Gauff uses a Head Graphene 360 Speed MP[58] that has 16 main and 19 cross strings. She wears New Balance clothing and tennis shoes.[59]

In October 2018, Gauff signed her first multi-year sponsorship contract, with New Balance.[60] In March 2019, she announced a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Italian food company Barilla, which also sponsors Roger Federer.[60][61]

Personal life[edit]

Gauff's tennis idols are Serena and Venus Williams. "Serena Williams has always been my idol...and Venus," she has said. "They are the reason why I wanted to pick up a tennis racquet."[13] Gauff first met Serena when she won the Little Mo national tournament at the age of eight, and later met her again to film a commercial for Delta Air Lines and at the Mouratoglou Academy.[9] After defeating Venus at Wimbledon in 2019, Gauff commended Venus when they shook hands at the net. "I was just telling her thank you for everything she's done for the sport," she said. "She's been an inspiration for many people. I was just really telling her thank you."[35]

In a 2020 post on "Behind the Racquet," created by Noah Rubin, Gauff admitted to having experienced depression and stress related to her sporting career. Her parents shared that she was never diagnosed with depression and had not sought any medical attention for any condition related to her psychological wellbeing.[62]

Career statistics[edit]

Grand Slam performance timeline[edit]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated at the conclusion of a tournament or when the player's participation has ended.

Singles[edit]

Only WTA Tour (incl. Grand Slams) main-draw results are considered in the career statistics.

Tournament 2018 2019 2020 SR W–L Win %
Australian Open A A 4R 0 / 1 3–1 75%
French Open A Q2 2R 0 / 1 1–1 50%
Wimbledon A 4R NH 0 / 1 3–1 75%
US Open Q1 3R 1R 0 / 2 2–2 50%
Win–Loss 0–0 5–2 4–3 0 / 5 9–5 64%

Doubles[edit]

Tournament 2019 2020 SR W–L
Australian Open A QF 0 / 1 3–1
French Open 1R 3R 0 / 2 2–2
Wimbledon A NH 0 / 0 0–0
US Open 3R 2R 0 / 2 3–2
Win–Loss 2–2 6–3 0 / 5 8–5

References[edit]

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External links[edit]