What To Know About Cori 'Coco' Gauff, The Teen Who Beat Venus Williams At Wimbledon

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At just 15 years old, tennis star Cori “Coco” Gauff is making history. In June, she became the youngest player to qualify for the main draw in Wimbledon ever, and on July 1 she beat tennis great Venus Williams in the first round match. Gauff obtained a spot in the championships after her victory in the final qualifying round on June 27, where it was later announced that she would be playing against Williams.

Gauff has consistently been compared to the Williams sisters — her idols — as a young black woman in tennis, so she was more than eager to play against Venus in the match. “Playing one of the greatest players of all time is a dream,” she told the BBC.

The teenager has been one of the buzziest names in sports recently, winning the French Open girls’ championship last year, winning a Grand Slam qualifying match in the Open this year, and becoming the youngest woman to do so.

Even though she’s only 15 years old, Gauff has already been making a big name for herself in the tennis world. Before she sets even more records, below are seven things you need to know about the tennis star.

1. The Williams Sisters Are Her Role Models

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The comparisons between Gauff and Venus and Serena aren’t unfounded, as she has looked up to the sisters for years, and considers them to be her idols.

“They’re just really great role models for me,” she told CNN. “Even now I still look up to them.”

Getting the opportunity to play against Venus was shocking for Gauff, but she said she’d always be a fan despite the outcome. “At the end of the match, I’m still gonna love her and look up to her, no matter what happens,” she told CNN.

2. She’s Been A Tennis Champion Since She Was 8

Gauff has been attracting even more attention for qualifying for Wimbledon at such a young age, but she made headlines at an even younger age. In 2017, when she was only 12 years old, she won the Orange Bowl, a famed junior tennis tournament. Before then, she was sweeping the competition at 8-under and 12-under national tournaments, winning the latter when she was only 10. She was the youngest champion in the competition’s history then, too.

3. She Comes From An Athletic Family

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Being a successful athlete is nothing new to the Gauff family, as both of Cori’s parents competed in sports as high school and college students. According to ESPN, her father, Corey, was a point guard on the basketball team at Georgia State University, while her mother Candi ran track at Florida State. Her mother also was a gymnast and champion heptathlete in high school.

4. She’s Estimated To Earn $1 Million In Sponsorships This Year Alone

Brands have caught on to Gauff’s star power, and she’s racking up a ton of sponsors for this year. According to Forbes, Gauff is believed to earn about $1 million in endorsements, making deals with New Balance, Italian pasta company Barilla, and sports equipment company Head.

Gauff posted a video to her Instagram in March announcing her partnership with Barilla, where you can see her sporting a branded Barilla patch on her uniform, alongside a New Balance one.

5. Roger Federer Is A Big Fan

Serena and Venus aren’t the only tennis legends who’ve caught wind of Gauff’s burgeoning career. She’s represented by Roger Federer’s management firm, Team8, and he was excited for Gauff ahead of her match with Williams.

“I think that would be a great, wonderful experience for Coco and Venus anyway,” Federer told The Guardian. “Coco is a nice girl, works really hard. I think she’s obviously got a wonderful future ahead of herself.”

6. Tennis Isn’t The Only Sport She’s Played

Gauff had been active in many sports from a young age, only committing to focus on tennis when she was eight years old. Previously, she was involved in gymnastics and soccer. "She took to it," her father Corey told ESPN. "She liked the skirts."

7. She Wants To Be The Greatest Tennis Player Of All Time

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Gauff is known for dreaming big, and clearly it’s taken her far. When she was only 12 years old, she told ESPN, “I want to be the greatest of all time.

A year later, after she lost a US Open junior final to Amanda Anisimova, she showed that her spirit hadn’t been wounded to CNN, saying again, “Overall, I want to be the best I can be and be the greatest.”