Full name – Cori “Coco” Gauff
Date of Birth – 13 March 2004
Nationality – American
Role – Right-Handed, Two-Handed Backhand (All-Around Player)
Coach – Corey Gauff, Jean-Christophe Faurel
Current Ranking – No. 25
Highest Ranking – No. 25 (24 May 2021)
Career Earnings – US$1,487,517
Win/Loss – 73/36
WTA Titles – 2
Grand Slams – 0
Cori “Coco” Gauff rose to prominence as a 15-year-old when she upset former World No. 1, Venus Williams, in the first round of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships. Born to athletic parents with backgrounds in basketball and track and field, Coco experimented with a variety of sports as a child. She ultimately chose Tennis over any other sports, having been inspired to play by the Williams sisters.
Gauff made her WTA Tour debut at the 2019 Miami Open, and since then the 17-year-old has gone from strength to strength. In her short professional career, Cori has already won two singles titles and three doubles titles (with Caty McNally), which has helped her break into the Top 25 in the singles circuit and the Top 50 in doubles.
Best Finishes at each Grand Slam
- Australian Open: 4R (2020)
- Roland Garros: QF (2021)
- Wimbledon: 4R (2019)
- US Open: 3R (2019)
Style of Play
Still just a 17-year-old teenager, Gauff’s tennis IQ is years ahead of her age. Being a natural all-around player, she can adapt her game according to her opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. For a teenager, she possesses a rocket serve which can clock up to 110mph, while her backhand is very powerful which she can execute at will, both off wings and crosscourt.
While her backhand is a class apart, Coco has traditionally struggled with her forehands – a major chunk of her unforced error comes from this, while her tremendous athleticism makes her one of the best volleyer and baseline player at the same time.
Sponsors & Endorsements
New Balance – After sponsoring the likes of Milos Raonic, Sorana Cîrstea, Danielle Collins and Heather Watson, New Balance roped in Coco Gauff at the age of 14 in 2018. After winning the French Open Juniors title, Alessandro Barel Di Sant’Albano – her agent from Team8 – confirmed to CNN that this was the first endorsement contract Gauff had signed. Her team of advisors received several endorsement offers for Gauff, but turned them down to give her time to focus on her tennis first.
Head – By the age of seven, Coco’s parents decided that they needed to move South to further their daughter’s chances of making it big in the world of tennis. She was taken to Rick Macci’s academy, the coach that unearthed the Williams sisters at the age of 10. It was then that Coco developed a liking for the Head 360 Speed MP racquet, and by the time she entered the ITF circuit, Head had roped her in with a racquet sponsorship deal.
Barilla – Shortly after Gauff made her senior debut in the 2019 Miami Open, Barilla Group, an Italian pasta company, signed an endorsement deal with her. Alongside tennis great Roger Federer and skiing champion Mikaela Shiffrin, Coco joined an elite group of sportspersons sponsored by Italy’s largest pasta chain. “Passion, dedication and fair play are values that inspire Barilla’s way of working. They are fundamental qualities that we also look for in a sports personality,” said Luca Barilla, Vice Chairman of Barilla Group. “We extend our warm welcome to Cori, an emerging star of American tennis, and we hope that she will be able to continue to interpret this spirit in the best possible way“, concluded Luca Barilla.
Cori Gauff and Naomi Osaka could start the next big tennis rivalry. Fittingly, both came into the limelight with victories over one of the Williams sisters. For Osaka, the breakthrough came in 2018 when she beat Serena Williams in the US Open final in front of a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium. For Gauff, the big moment came against Venus Williams at the 2019 Wimbledon, where the 15-year-old beat the seven-time Grand Slam champion in straight sets.
In 2019, Naomi Osaka thrashed the then 15-year-old 6-3 6-0 in a mauling of an encounter. But Osaka embraced her distraught opponent and said, “I want her to have her head high, not walk off the court sad, I want her to be aware that she’s accomplished so much, and she’s still so young,” Osaka said.
It was a deep learning curve for Gauff, who had been thrust into the public limelight at a very young age. And she did learn, as when the two faced each other again, this time in the Third Round of the 2020 Australian Open, Coco came out on top, beating the then World No. 3 in straight sets 6-3 6-4. With both these athletes still far off their peaks, they can set the scene for the next ten years.
- Coco is the youngest player to be ranked in the top 100 by the WTA.
- At an age of just 13, Coco made it to the finals of the juniors 2017 US Open, making her the youngest finalist in the tournament’s history.
- Her first WTA title at the 2019 Linz Open at the age of 15, made her the youngest singles title holder on the WTA Tour since 2004.
- She became the youngest qualifier at the Wimbledon Championships when she qualified for the main draw in 2019.
- Coco Gauff became the youngest player to reach the quarter final stages of a Grand Slam tournament, making it to this year’s French Open quarter finals.
Notable Charity Work
- In 2019, Coco joined hands with other tennis stars to raise money for the benefit of the Bryan Brothers Foundation.
- During the COVID lockdown, Coco accepted the “All In Challenge”, joining the likes of Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber and Drake in a virtual fundraiser. All the proceeds went to Feeding America, Meals On Wheels, World Central Kitchen, and No Kid Hungry.