Posted 1 years ago

Tennis General

The rise of Coco Gauff

The rise of Coco Gauff
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Coco Gauff first grabbed headlines after defeating Venus Williams, three years ago.

At the tender age of 18, she is now ready to embark on her journey of greatness, which also coincides with the exit of her tennis inspiration, Serena Williams.

With the support of her parents, who had been athletes in college, Coco tried out various sports including gymnastics, soccer, basketball and track, before finally settling on tennis. Her enthusiasm for tennis, led her father to study the career trajectories of top players in the sport, and design a now famous, 10-year-plan that was expected to take Coco to the professional stage, by 18.

He also studied the evolution of the game over the years, and was influenced by Richard Williams, the father of the Williams sisters.

 Coco herself has been hugely inspired by Venus, and Serena and has revealed that much of her growing up was spent watching their matches.

 She and her coach also learnt to model her shots on them and followed their game closely. Coco’s well-known double handed backhand can also be attributed to her father, who insisted she work on it, after seeing her opponents often hitting shots which needed a backhand response.

 Coco finally made her junior debut at the US and Australian Open in 2017. An early exit from the Australian Open, forced a rethink of her strategy.

This was followed by work on technique and form aimed at building a player, rather than winning matches.

The change in strategy worked, with Coco winning her first junior Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2018. However, her journey was not smooth, with subsequent losses and dips in her motivation, which was nursed back by her parents.

 When Coco was offered a wildcard slot in the Wimbledon, she took the opportunity – at 15 – to be the youngest player ever to make it to the main tournament.

She then realized she was facing Venus Williams in the first round. She ignored the scoreboard during the match, to avoid seeing Williams’name, in case it could be a deterrent. When she won the match, it was a feat she had not imagined possible, and kicked off “Cocomania”.

 

Coco’s plans for the future currently involve winning more matches than Serena – but that’s not all. Issues of racism and police violence have also made her aware of the role she can play as a social advocate.

For now, she is focused and trying to not let the pressure build too much. "My goals are the same," she said in an interview. "But the mentality behind them is different. I want to enjoy the tough moments.”

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