Coco Gauff is an American professional tennis player regarded by many as one of the future stars, having already won a Grand Slam final at the tender age of 19 at the 2023 US Open. In 2022 she reached the final of the French Open.
Name: Cori “Coco” Gauff
Born: March 13, 2004
Turned Pro: 2021
Born on the 13th of March, 2004 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Coco Gauff first rose to prominence in the tennis world when she became the youngest girls' singles finalist in US Open history in 2017. Despite losing in straight sets to Amanda Anisimova in the final, Gauff had laid down the first marker of her potential ability.
In 2018, Gauff would go even further at the junior French Open. Having reached the final without dropping a single set, including a semi-final victory over Leylah Fernandez, Gauff came from a set down to fellow American, Caty McNally in the final to claim victory 1-6, 6-3, 7-6, making her the fifth youngest girls' singles champion in French Open history. Alongside McNally, Gauff would also claim the junior US Open girls' doubles title in 2018.
Turning professional in 2018, Gauff made her senior US Open debut less than half a year after her 14th birthday. In 2019, Gauff would make more history by becoming 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. She also won her first title at the Upper Austra in Linz that year.
In her first match at the All England Club, Gauff shocked former 5-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in straight sets, making her way through to the fourth round before falling to eventual champion, Simona Halep.
In 2020, Gauff would match her feat of making the fourth round of a Grand Slam, this time at the Australian Open. Again defeating Venus Williams in straight sets in the opening round, Gauff would then upset the third seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka 6-3, 6-4 in round three before losing to Sofia Kenin in the last 16.
2021 would see more progression for Gauff, again reaching the last 16 at Wimbledon and getting to her first Grand Slam quarter-final at Rolland Garros before a straight-sets defeat to eventual winner Barbora Krejčíková.
Entering the 2022 French Open as the 18th seed, Gauff again proved her prowess on the clay. In a series of imperious performances, Gauff would hand out straight-set defeats to Rebecca Marino, Alison Van Uytvanck, Kaia Kanepi, Elise Mertens, Sloane Stephens and Martina Trevisan.
Iga Swiatek in the final at Rolland Garros would prove a step too far for Gauff but nevertheless, she rose to a career-high world ranking of 13, something she would improve upon further, reaching world number 4 in October 2022.
Coco Gauff has had an impressive year in 2023. She has been on a hot streak, winning 11 of 12 matches during the summer swing. This included two hard-court titles at Washington and Cincinnati. Her title at Cincinnati marked her first WTA 1000 tournament win, where she defied a 0-7 head-to-head deficit and defeated No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the semifinals.
In addition to her on-court success, Gauff has also made some changes to her coaching team. She is currently being coached by Brad Gilbert, a former professional tennis player and renowned coach. Gilbert joined Gauff’s team as a consultant before the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., where she won the tournament. Gauff’s official coach is Spaniard Pere Riba, a former ATP World No. 65 who is rising up the coaching ranks.
Gauff attributes her recent success to a surge in confidence in her game and being able to trust herself even when her ‘A’ game is not there. She said, "I think the most I’ve learned over the course of this summer is that I don’t have to play A-plus tennis to win. I do feel I’m much more confident in my B or C game".
Despite her young age, Gauff has shown maturity and patience on the court. However, she did express frustration during her match against Laura Siegemund at the US Open 2023 due to Siegemund’s slow pace of play. Gauff’s qualms were immediately met with approval from the crowd. Coco Gauff went on to make history by winning her first Grand Slam title at the US Open 2023. The 19-year-old American came back from a set down to defeat Aryna Sabalenka, who became the world No. 1, in a thrilling final. Gauff showed her fighting spirit and resilience, as she turned the match around with her superb defense and shot-making. She became the youngest American to win the US Open since Serena Williams in 1999, and the 10th teenager to win the women’s title in New York. Gauff also reached a career-high ranking of No. 3 with her victory in the US Open.
Overall, Coco Gauff’s performance in 2023 has solidified her status as one of the top players in women’s tennis.
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