Who is Cori Gauff? A Star is Born

Martin Green

Thursday, July 4, 2019 6:45 PM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 4, 2019 6:45 PM UTC

The future looks exceptionally bright for Cori Gauff.
<div><p>On June 26, a 15-year-old schoolgirl called Cori Gauff sat a science test and was delighted to get a B for her endeavours. The following day she received an emphatic A* as she beat experienced tennis professional Greet Millen 6-1 6-1 to become the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history. She told reporters that she idolised Serena and Venus Williams while growing up and hoped to one day share a court with one of the sisters that have dominated women’s tennis for the past 20 years.</p><p>She did not have long to wait. The teenage prodigy, who is known as Coco to her friends, was handed a dream first round draw with 39-year-old Venus, a five-time former Wimbledon champion. Her prospects of success were poor. <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=bf7f64f4-cd67-4904-9b00-6ded1d41fd18&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Bet365">Bet365</a> made Gauff the 3.75 (11/4) outsider, and bookmakers like <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=150&amp;a=a710bfac-73c1-4a57-b441-2caf1b9f397b&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="William Hill">William Hill</a> were offering similar prices. <a href="https://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=153&amp;a=8ec6399a-9df1-4c52-b272-39e6428836a6&amp;f=1" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="Betfair">Betfair</a> installed Williams the 1.35 (7/20) favourite and it tipped her to cover a -4.5 game handicap at odds of 9/10 (1.90).</p><h2><strong>Passing the Torch</strong></h2><p>Yet Gauff delivered a scintillating performance to beat Williams 6-4 6-4 and shock the world of tennis. She was composure personified in seeing off the four-time Olympic gold medallist, and many viewers considered it a genuine “passing of the torch moment” in women’s tennis. The Williams sisters will soon retire, and Gauff proved that she has the ability to take up their mantle when she swatted aside former Wimbledon semi-finalist Magdalena Rybarikova on July 3 to surge into the third round of the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament.</p><p>“I want to be the greatest,” she said, evoking boxing icon Muhammad Ali. “I believe I can beat anyone across the court.” Gauff is only eligible to feature in 10 professional tournaments until she turns 16, yet she appears to be taking the pressures of Wimbledon in her stride. She has already had a knockabout with Rafa Nadal and chewed the fat with seven-time champion Roger Federer.</p><h2><strong>A clear path to superstardom</strong></h2><p>It sounds like a fairytale rise to prominence, but Gauff has always been groomed for superstardom. She was born in Atlanta, Georgia, and her parents instilled a love of tennis in her at an early age. They recognised her vast potential for success and uprooted the family to Florida when she was just seven years old in order to give her the best possible chance of success. She is home-schooled: her dad is her main tennis coach and her mother teaches her English, maths, science et al.</p><p>“I’ve always challenged her, from the beginning of this when we started, telling her that she’ll be able to change the world with her racket,” said father Corey. “So I’m not going to encourage her, when she gets there, to stick her head in the ground and ignore social issues. I want her to be a role model to as many young athletes as possible.”</p><h2><strong>The world at her feet</strong></h2><p>At the age of 11, Gauff was selected by Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou as part of his Champ’Seed foundation and trained with him in Nice, France. Her intensive tennis education has clearly paid dividends and she has an exceptionally bright future ahead of her. Most 15-year-olds are studying history in stuffy classrooms, while Gauff is busy making it. After beating Rybarikova in the second round at Wimbledon, she was priced at just 9/1 with William Hill to win the tournament. That left her ahead of such luminaries as Simona Halep, Johanna Konta and Sloane Stephens. It will surely not be long until she is the outright favourite to clinch Grand Slams.</p></div>
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