Black History 365: Coco Gauff
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Cori “Coco” Gauff (born March 13, 2004) is an American professional tennis player. She is the youngest player ranked in the top 100 by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and has a career-high ranking of world No. 12 in singles achieved on 20 June 2022 and No. 5 in doubles achieved on 6 June 2022. Gauff won her first WTA Tour singles title at the 2019 Linz Open aged 15, making her the youngest singles title-holder on the Tour since 2004. She has won four WTA Tour doubles titles- three of them partnering with Caty McNally. Gauff rose to prominence with a win over Venus Williams in the opening round at Wimbledon 2019.
Born to 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 tennis, inspired by the Williams sisters and preferring an individual sport.
Gauff had 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, the youngest finalist in the tournament’s history. She became the No. 1 junior in the world after winning the junior 2018 French Open singles title over McNally. She also won a junior Grand Slam doubles title at the 2018 US Open, this time partnering McNally.
Gauff made her WTA Tour debut in March 2019 at the Miami Open and won her opening match. She received a wildcard into the qualifying draw at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships, where she became the youngest player in the tournament’s history to qualify for the main draw. There she reached the fourth round, and each of her matches was the most-watched of the day through the first week of television coverage in the United States. Later that summer, still aged 15, she reached the third round of the US Open. In 2021 she reached her first major final in women’s doubles at the US Open, and reached her first major singles final at the 2022 French Open, losing to No. 1 Iga Świątek.