The American superstar has said she wants to be the greatest of all time since she turned 12.
The now-19-year-old looks poised to capture her first Grand Slam title at the 2023 US Open.
Coco Gauff is one of tennis' biggest stars, and she's just 19 years old.
The Florida native catapulted to fame at 15 years old when she upset seven-time Grand Slam champion and former world No. 1 Venus Williams at Wimbledon in 2019. Since then, she has steadily climbed the WTA rankings, signed major endorsement deals, and made her mark on tour with five singles titles.
Now, she looks ready to secure her first-ever major championship title at her home Grand Slam: the US Open. Here's everything you need to know about the American superstar as she prepares for a long run in New York City.
Gauff's record-breaking youth captured the attention of a global audience at Wimbledon 2019.
At just 15 years old, Gauff blazed through her three qualifying matches at Roehampton to make the main tournament at Wimbledon. But at 11 p.m. the night before one of those matches, she had to take a science test — a testament to just how young she was when she first arrived on the tennis scene.
Gauff told CNN she ended up getting a 'B' on that test, and that only one of her teachers even knew she played tennis. It's safe to say they know she plays now.
She decided to focus on tennis in 2011, when she was just 7 years old.
Gauff grew up in Atlanta, with her parents and two younger brothers. She was homeschooled by her mother, Candi, who was once a teacher.
When she was young, Gauff played soccer and gymnastics. But her love for tennis — and her clear aptitude for the sport — ultimately led her to focus on it exclusively.
The Gauff family moved to Delray Beach in Florida so that Gauff could train alongside other junior tennis players in what Tennis.com calls a "professional tennis incubator."
Gauff's parents were both college athletes in Georgia and Florida.
Gauff's mother ran track at Florida State University. Her father played basketball for Georgia State University.
Gauff's grandmother, nicknamed "Mama D," was her biggest fan when Gauff won the girl's tournament of the Rendez-vous à Roland-Garros in Boca Raton, Florida, in April 2017.
It qualified Gauff to fly to Paris and compete for a wild card entry into the Roland-Garros international event. While she eventually fell short, Gauff became the youngest ever finalist in the girls' singles event at the US Open.
She was just hitting her teens when she publicly proclaimed that she wanted to be "the greatest" tennis player ever.
After winning the Junior French Open in 2018 — the second-youngest player ever to do so — and winning match after match at Wimbledon 2019 as the youngest female to qualify for a Grand Slam tournament main draw (and the youngest player overall to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon), it seems as if Gauff is on her way to accomplishing her ambitious goal.
"I want to be the greatest of all time," she told ESPN when she was 12.
In the opening round of Wimbledon, Gauff defeated five-time champion Venus Williams.
Gauff told reporters after the win that she thanked Williams, who she "wouldn't be here without." Williams had already won six Grand Slam titles by March 2004, when Gauff was born.
Gauff told CNN she grew up idolizing the Williams sisters. She was trained by Serena Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou and the Champ'seed Foundation that helps young tennis talents who may not have the financial ability to receive training at the highest level.
"That's something that as a little girl — and even now — meant a lot to me," Gauff said during US Open media day. "Especially, like, growing up, before I was born, there wasn't many. Before Serena came along, there was not really an icon of the sport that looked like me."
"So growing up, I never thought that I was different because the No. 1 player in the world was somebody who looked like me," she added. "I think that's the biggest thing that I can take from what I've learned from Serena."
When Gauff played against Williams, she used a mental trick popularized by the movie "Hoosiers."
In the film "Hoosiers," fictional high school basketball coach Norman Dale tells players to remember that the dimensions of a bigger court are the same as the ones they practiced on.
Gauff said she used the same trick when facing the court at Wimbledon, the largest stage she had ever played on.
After her fourth-round exit at Wimbledon, Gauff catapulted to fame and tennis greatness.
Gauff's Cinderella run at Wimbledon finally came to an end against Simona Halep, who would go on to win the tournament that year. But Coco still jumped to No. 141 in the WTA rankings after the sensational showing, according to the WTA.
She earned a wild card at the US Open later that summer and breezed through her first two rounds before falling in straight sets to then-world-No. 1 Naomi Osaka.
Gauff — who was 15 at the time — bounced back stunningly, breaking through win her first WTA title at the 2019 Linz Open to become the youngest player since 2004 to win a WTA singles title. The Williams sisters, by contrast, were both 17 years old when they first broke through for their first WTA singles championship victories.
Blockbuster endorsements followed Gauff's incredible success.
Gauff has signed deals with major sponsors, including New Balance, Barilla, Head, and Bose. Though the exact numbers are not public knowledge, she's almost certainly earned millions of dollars through her endorsements.
On the court, Gauff has raked in more than $7 million in prize money. And in each of the past three years, her annual earnings on the court have reached seven figures.
Not bad for someone who's still in her teens.
She's won five singles titles and come close to capturing a Grand Slam title.
Now 19, Gauff has won five singles tournaments: the aforementioned Linz Open in 2019, the Emilia-Romagna Open in 2021, the Auckland Classic in 2021, the Washington Open in 2023, and the Cincinnati Open in 2023. She also nearly earned her first Grand Slam title in 2022, when she lost in straight sets to world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the French Open final.
Gauff quickly became a mainstay in the top 50, top 25, and — more recently — top 10 of the WTA rankings.
Now, Gauff looks poised to win her first-ever major championship at her home slam.
Gauff enters the 2023 US Open on the hottest streak of her still-young career. She opened August with a win at the Washington Open, where she did not drop a single set en route to the title. Weeks later, she earned her biggest championship yet at the Cincinnati Open and bested world No. 1 Iga Swiatek in the process.
Now, she has tons of momentum heading into her home slam: the US Open.
"I know I'm up right now, and I know I'm going to experience a down — hopefully not this week, but it could happen," Gauff told Insider with a smile. "I know it's going to happen. It's impossible to stay up all the time."
"I'm just going in and I feel confident in my preparation, and I feeling confident in my execution," she added.
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