Athleticism Runs in the Family
Cori “Coco” Gauff was born on March 15, 2004, in Atlanta, Georgia, US. Her parents were athletes during their youth, as her mother, Candi, was a former gymnast and ran track and field at Florida State University, while her father, Corey, was a basketball player at Georgia State University. Cori inherited her parents’ love for sports at a young age and her first signs of athletic potential came when she was 3-years-old and she jumped off her stroller to run down a track.
Inspiration from the Williams Sisters
Her father noted that one time when Cori was about four or five, they both watched tennis star Serena Williams win the Australian Open. Williams' win caused her father to jump and cheer in joy, and the young Cori would go on to tell him: "Daddy you like that? I'm going to do the same thing too" and thus her passion for tennis was born. Her mother stated that both Serena and Venus Williams are Cori’s idols and she even has a poster of the former in her bedroom.
Parental Coaching and Sacrifices
Cori started tennis training when she was in the second grade with her father as her coach, while her mother took care of her homeschooling. The family would then move from Georgia to Florida to improve her prospects of becoming a professional tennis player and her father even resigned from his job at a pharmaceutical company to dedicate more time to his daughter, a decision he never looked back on. Cori’s parents also took her to Southern France so she could train at Patrick Mouratoglou’s academy. Mouratoglou is, of course, Serena Williams’ long-time coach, and when he met the then 10-year-old Cori, he noticed her determination, athleticism, and competitive spirit.
Professional Debut and Youth Championships
In May 2018, Cori made her International Tennis Federation debut which she went on to win. A month later she competed in the 2018 French Open, where she competed in the Girls Singles Competition, she made it all the way to the final where she beat fellow American Caty McNally. She later teamed up with McNally in the US Open Girls Doubles competition which they won together. Cori then won the Girls18 and Under Orange Bowl International Tennis Championships. Having ended the year in winning fashion, her mother posted this New Year’s message on Facebook: “Looking forward to 2019. My theme for 2019 is…Purge, Praise, and Prosper.” Needless to say, her daughter is following her mother’s theme and hopes for the year.
Thundering Through Her Idol at Wimbledon
Since she wasn’t ranked high enough to qualify for 2019’s edition of Wimbledon, she had to go through via the competition’s wild-card system and had to win three qualifying matches at Roehampton before making it to the main tournament. Having entered the competition at the young age of 15, she became the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon. After qualifying, she was drawn in the first round against Venus Williams, five-time Wimbledon winner and one her idols. Cori did not let the gravity of the situation go to her head, as she confidently defeated Venus in straight sets to go through to the second round and become the youngest woman to win a Wimbledon match since 1991. Naturally, the veteran’s defeat at the hands of the debutant teenager made a stir in the sporting world and Cori became an overnight sensation. Cori repeated her winning fashion against 2017 Wimbledon semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova, as she beat her 6-3, 6-3. Cori is now a rising star in tennis and is slated to become Wimbledon champion in the near future.
Despite her Grand Slam sensations, Cori’s mother is still adamant in keeping her daughter grounded to the regular life of a teenager. In many interviews, Candi reminded her daughter of the chores she still has to do back home, especially keeping her bedroom tidy. Furthermore, Cori is still balancing her athletic life with her education, as a matter of fact just one day before her Wimbledon qualifying matches; she had to take a late night science test, but if she takes her studies as seriously as her tennis then I don’t think we need to worry about her passing that test.