10 Things You Didn’t Know about Coco Gauff

Eighteen-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff is one of the rising stars of tennis. Reaching a career-high ranking of 8th in the world on September 12, 2022, Gauff has made waves since her debut in 2019, defeating legend Venus Williams at Wimbledon as the youngest entrant in the history of that tournament.

With more and more young athletes living in the fishbowl of social media, it becomes easier to know about their lives. Coco Gauff is no exception, and her social media presence is one of the most popular for a young star in the tennis world. Her friendship with legends like the Williams Sisters and Roger Federer make her a popular figure in the sport, and she will be in the public eye for a long time to come.

1. Coco Is From A Family Of Athletic Champions

Coco’s father, Corey Gauff, is a former Division 1 NCAA basketball star from Georgia State University, who chose to move into the professional world of health care rather than declare for the NBA Draft. Her mother was Florida State University track and field athlete and gymnast Candi Odom, who racked up impressive showings as an undergraduate, especially in the heptathlon, javelin, and hurdles.

The Gauffs moved when Coco was very young to their joint childhood hometown of Delray Beach, Florida, to give Coco the advantage of better access to professional trainers and coaches there. Coco has thrived in the coastal environment, using it as both the inspiration for her tennis career and a refuge from its pressures.

2. She Tried Basketball And Didn’t Like It

Coco Gauff’s parents encouraged her to try many sports, both team sports like basketball and individual sports like track. The young girl’s heart, however, was set on tennis from age 4, an interest developed watching Serena Williams’ 2009 Australian Open win. She first started playing when she was 6, admitting later that while she loved tennis, she did not love practicing when she started in the sport at the young age of 6. When she was 8, Gauff won the “Little Mo” 8-and-under tournament, and knew she was ready to make her debut.

3. Coco Gauff Is A Master

Singles tennis is one of the most difficult sports in the world, with a huge court area that the lone athlete must patrol all by herself, and Coco is one of the best in the world at this discipline of tennis. Ranked 8th in the world as of September 12, 2022, she is not only one of the finest in the world at singles, but also a top-ranked doubles player, who has been ranked as high as first in doubles and currently sits at fifth with partner Jessica Pegula. Her previous doubles partner, Caty McNally, remains one of her good friends as well.

4. She Has Learned From Some Of The Best

Like many young athletes, Coco Gauff has actively sought out the mentorship and friendship of some of the top athletes in the world in her discipline. She was inspired to join tennis by watching the Williams Sisters, especially Serena’s dominant 2009 Australian Open, and has been friends for several years with legend Roger Federer. The Swiss champion, one of the greatest men’s tennis players of all time, is one of the many tennis players on the ATP circuit to call the young phenom his friend. Gauff has named Federer and 27-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios as her ideal mixed doubles partners.

5. Coco Made Waves Early

One of the defining young athletes of the late 2019s and early 2020s, Cori Gauff started training at age 6, and had her competitive debut at age 7. Thanks to her young dedication to the sport, she began racking up championships as a child and won the Little Mo national 8-and-under tournament at age 8. She continued to rack up junior championships from age 8 to age 16, going professional on the USTA circuit in 2020.

6. She Is An Instagram Star

Like many young athletes, Coco Gauff is not only an icon on the court, but also a popular internet influencer. Her Instagram channel is thriving with almost 850 thousand followers. Her photos average tens of thousands of likes and millions of views. Her recent post commemorating friend and mentor Roger Federer’s retirement garnered nearly 88,000 views in a single day.

7. She Was The Youngest USTA Juniors Champion Ever

At age 10 and 3 months, Coco Gauff won the USTA Clay Court National 12-and-under title, making her the youngest champion in the tournament’s history. With this tournament championship under her belt, she then moved on, reaching the semifinals in the prestigious Les Petits As tournament just two years later, becoming one of the youngest players to reach that level of that tournament as well. Finding her stride in 2017 at age 13, she made her junior Grand Slam debut at the 2017 US Open and finished second to Amanda Anisimova.

8. Meet Coco’s Off-The-Court Heroes

Any athlete will have people who inspire them both on and off the field of play. In Coco Gauff’s case, she has expressed admiration for Rihanna, Beyonce, and Michelle Obama. She got the chance in 2019 to meet the former First Lady, herself an avid tennis fan. When Gauff reached the finals at the French Open in 2022, her first finals appearance at that prestigious tournament, Mrs. Obama was one of the first to congratulate her via tweet.

9. Coco Is A Fan Of Jaden Smith

Will Smith’s son, Jaden, is one of Coco’s favorite actors and musicians. Starring in Skate Kitchen (2018) and Brave Blue World (2020), Smith is a multi-talented performer following in the footsteps of his famous father, star of 90s classics like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-96) and Independence Day (1996) as well as half of 80s-90s rap duo D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. Asked in 2019 at Wimbledon whether she was more excited for his then-new album Erys or winning the tournament, Coco responded, “Both!” (https://www.newschainonline.com/celebrity/five-facts-you-didnt-know-about-tennis-star-coco-gauff-as-she-turns-16-4840)

10. Coco Wasn’t Even Born When Venus Williams Won Her First Two Wimbledon Titles

Venus Williams won her first Wimbledon title at age 20 on July 9, 2000. Her second win at Wimbledon was in 2001 over Justine Henin. Coco faced and won against Venus in the 2019 first round, 6-4 6-4, but was eliminated in the fourth round to Simona Halep.

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