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Cori Gauff

tennis player

Alias: Coco
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Bio Cori "Coco" Gauff (born March 13, 2004) is an American tennis player. She is the youngest player ranked in the top 100 by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). Coco won her first WTA singles title at the 2019 Linz Open at the age of 15, making her the youngest singles title-holder on the WTA Tour since 2004. She has also won two WTA doubles titles with compatriot and fellow teenager Caty McNally. Gauff rose to prominence with a first-round upset of Venus Williams at Wimbledon in 2019.
Gauff was born on March 13, 2004, to Candi (née Odom) and Corey Gauff, both of whom are from Delray Beach, Florida. She has two youngerbrothers, Codey who is four years younger and Cameron who is nine years younger. Her father played college basketball at Georgia State University and later worked as a health care executive, while her mother was a track and field athlete at Florida State University and worked as an educator. Gauff initially grew up in Atlanta, and first became interested in tennis at the age of four after watching Serena Williams win the 2009 Australian Open on television with her family. Her parents encouraged her to try a wide variety of sports including basketball and track. She began playing tennis at the age of six and decided she wanted to pursue it as a career because it was an individual sport and because of her early success in winning the "Little Mo" eight-and-under nationals at the age of eight. Gauff recalled, "I wasn't much of a team person. I loved tennis. I was so-so about it in the beginning because when I was younger I didn't want to practice at all. I just wanted to play with my friends. When I turned eight, that was when I played 'Little Mo' and after that, I decided to do that for the rest of my life."
Born to athletic parents with NCAA Division I collegiate backgrounds in basketball and track and field, Gauff experimented with a variety of sports as a child. She chose to focus on tennis, having been inspired to play by the Williams sisters and because of her preference for competing in an individual sport. Gauff had quick success as a junior, earning a sponsorship to train at Patrick Mouratoglou's academy in France. She began playing on the ITF Junior Circuit at 13 and finished runner-up at the junior 2017 US Open in just her fourth ITF event, making her the youngest finalist in the tournament's history. She became the No. 1 junior in the world after winning the junior Grand Slam singles title at the 2018 French Open over McNally. She also won a junior Grand Slam doubles title at the 2018 US Open, this time partnering with McNally.

When Gauff was seven years old, her family moved back to Delray Beach so that she would have better opportunities to train in tennis. They initially lived with her mother's parents before getting their own house. While in Florida, she worked with Gerard Loglo at the New Generation Tennis Academy for a few years starting from the age of eight. Both of Gauff's parents gave up their careers to focus on training their daughter, with her father later taking over as her primary coach and her mother overseeing her homeschooling. Her father had limited experience playing tennis growing up. At ten years old, Gauff also began to train at the Mouratoglou Academy in France that is run by Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams's longtime coach.
Mouratoglou commented, "I'll always remember the first time I saw Coco. She came over to the Mouratoglou Academy in 2014 to try out and she impressed me with her determination, athleticism and fighting spirit... When she looks at you and tells you she will be number one you can only believe it." He helped sponsor Gauff through his Champ'Seed foundation, which he created to provide funding for talented junior tennis players who did not have the financial resources to afford high-level training. Gauff continued to have success, winning the USTA Clay Court National 12-and-under title at the age of 10 years and 3 months old to become the youngest champion in the tournament's history.

Gauff made her WTA Tour debut in March 2019 at the Miami Open and won her opening match. She received a wild card into the qualifying draw at Wimbledon where she became the youngest player to qualify for the main draw in the tournament's history. She reached the fourth round of the event, and each of her matches was the most-watched of the day in the United States. Gauff also reached another third round at a major two months later at the US Open.

Gauff's tennis idols are Serena and Venus Williams. She has said, "Serena Williams has always been my idol... and Venus. They are the reason why I wanted to pick up a tennis racket."
Gauff first met Serena when she won the Little Mo national tournament at the age of eight, and later met her again to film a commercial for Delta Airlines and at the Mouratoglou Academy. After defeating Venus at Wimbledon in 2019, she commended Venus when they shook hands at the net, commenting, "I was just telling her to thank you for everything she’s done for the sport. She’s been an inspiration for many people. I was just really telling her to thank you.
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