Everything You Need To Know About 15-Year-Old Coco Guaff Who Just Beat Venus Williams At Wimbledon

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Who Is Coco Gauff? New Details On The Youngest Player To Ever Qualify For Wimbeldon

In a stunning upset, Venus Williams lost her first round match to the youngest woman ever to qualify for Wimbledon. Cori "Coco" Gauff, a 15-year-old from Florida, faced off against the 39-year-old tennis legend who had entered the tournament unseeded.

Though Williams’ days of unquestioned dominance may be behind her, she is still a force and a fan favorite at Wimbledon and Gauff knew she was facing a champion as well as one of her own idols. The teenager played her best game and defeated Williams 6-4, 6-4 to advance to the second round.

Who is Coco Gauff? Read on for all the details about this up and coming tennis star.

1. Venus Williams

At 39, Venus Williams is a legend in the world of tennis and a beloved figure in America. She and her sister Serena took tennis by storm in the 1990s and they have both held the number one spot in the world at different points in their careers. They have come back from injuries and illnesses through sheer hard work and training. Venus holds nine Grand Slam titles, some of which she won before Gauff was even born. Moreover, the Williams sisters are responsible for increasing prize money at major tournaments so that women are paid equal to male players in the sport.

Williams has five Wimbledon titles.

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2. Big dreams

When she was 12-years-old, Gauff told ESPN that she wanted to be the greatest tennis player of all time. When she said those words, she was making waves as a junior player and went on to some major victories in the years to come. At 13, she became the youngest United States Open junior girls finalist in history and, the following year, she would be the second youngest French Open junior girls champion at age 14.

She credits her family for encouraging her, telling the New York Times about her thoughts before her big match this week: “My dad told me that I could do this when I was 8,” she said. “Obviously you never believe it. I’m still not, like 100 percent confident. But, like, you have to just say things. You never know what happens.”

She won her first junior Grand Slam in 2018.

3. Family influence

Gauff’s parents are both athletes themselves and understand competing at this level of sport. The New York Times reports that her father Corey played point guard on Georgia State's basketball team, and her mother, Candi, was a track and field athlete at Florida State. They have been unfailingly supportive of their daughter’s choices and they all rapidly changed plans when she suddenly got a wild card slot for Wimbledon.

Before going into the first round match against Williams, Corey told his daughter: “I told her you are going to have to go for it. I said, ‘Go after your serve.’ You’ve got to win the match. She’s not going to give it you. She’s a champion. She’s been there too many times. It’s better to double fault and make sure she knows you are going to hit the ball, then to dink it in and let her hit winners.”

She took his words to heart, recalling: “If I went into this match saying, ‘Let me see how many games I can get against her,’ then I most definitely would not have won. My goal was to play my best. My dream was to win. That’s what happened. I think people just kind of limit themselves too much.”

She is close to her parents.

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4. An inspiration

Gauff acknowledged that Williams is one of the giants of the sport and that she has been a role model for a generation of younger players. But when they were across the net, she tried not to think about who she was facing, telling reporters: “On the court, I was not thinking about Venus. I was just playing my game. No matter who I play against, I want to win. So that’s what I was just thinking about the whole time. I wasn’t really thinking about who I was facing on the other side of the net.” But during the post-match handshake, Gauff took a moment to speak to Williams and tell her what she meant. “I was just telling her thank you for everything she’s done for the sport. She’s been an inspiration for many people. I was just really telling her thank you. I met her before, but I didn’t really have the guts to say anything. I mean, now or never.”

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Gauff took a moment to speak with Williams.

5. Next moves

In the second round, Gauff will face Magdalena Rybarikova, who was a semi-finalist at the tournament in 2017. While her matches will only get harder at Wimbledon, Gauff may just have the talent and drive to go all the way. Only time will tell. Whatever happens, this young tennis player clearly has the heart of a champion and a long career in front of her. 

Gauff defeated a champion. 

Wimbledon will continue over the next two weeks. 

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.