"I really only watched Serena until probably like eight years old" - Gauff admits to only watching Serena Williams play while growing up

Friday, 17 February 2023 at 04:30
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Coco Gauff kicked off her 2023 Qatar TotalEnergies Open campaign with a commanding 6-3, 7-6(6) victory over two-time champion Petra Kvitova. She advanced to her second consecutive Qatar Open quarter-final with a commanding straight-sets victory over the Czech tennis player.
Gauff has often spoken of her admiration for both Serena and Venus Williams throughout her childhood. In a fitting twist of fate, she rocketed to tennis stardom by defeating the elder Williams sister at Wimbledon in 2019, at the mere age of 15 years.
Serena Williams has had an invaluable influence on aspiring tennis stars, and Coco Gauff was no exception. The young American tennis star idolized Serena from a young age. But with a young colored girl coming up on Florida's tennis circuit, Gauff could relate to Williams on a level that few others could.
At a post-match press conference in Doha, the 18-year-old was in an ebullient mood. When asked if she had seen anyone other than Serena Williams growing up, she replied that she had mainly followed Serena's career.
"I definitely watched her matches," revealed Gauff. "When she won her first title when I was seven, I didn't see that one. I was just starting tennis. I really only watched like Serena up until probably like eight years old, and that's when I started watching other players."
However, the American reiterated her immense respect for the legends of the game, such as Kvitova and Simona Halep, who have achieved remarkable success in the sport.
"I definitely watched her matches over the years. It's one of those people that you just never think you're going to play," she added. "I'd say she's among the players like Simona and Petra, you know, even past players that I've played that now retired, like Petkovic, I just feel like those are players when you step on the court you're like, okay, I have watched you for a long time, like it's kind of weird playing you."

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