Since 15-year-old Cori Gauff burst onto the scene in 2019, she has taken the tennis world by storm. The young American prodigy knew how to deal with pressure well, despite her young age, and she achieved great results in a short time. At 19 years old, the famous Atlanta native managed to play in a TBS final (Roland Garros – 2022). A year later, Corey reached the decisive match at his home US Open. Let’s look at the history of the name of the heiress Serena Williams, who conquers more and more heights. And it seems that this is just the beginning.
Corey or Coco?
In the vastness of sports publications you can see two spelling options for the name of the famous American. Coco was the nickname they gave him, and from that moment on it became his full name. Since he is named after Corey’s father and his names are quite similar, they came up with a nickname. It was the aunt of the future world tennis star who suggested calling her niece Coco. When the young woman was little, her father was also called Ko and everyone agreed.
“My nickname came about because we can’t both call ourselves Corey/Cory, it would be confusing. I think it was my aunt who said, “Oh, we should call her Coco.” When my dad was little, people called him Ko and I think they were like, “Oh, Koko is a cool nickname.” Since then my name is Coco. Of course, more people used the Coco variant in their speech than Corey,” Gauff said in an interview.
The tennis player even insisted on being called Coco as part of a NewBalance campaign.
“I may be a rookie, but win or lose, call me Coco,” Gauff declared during the ad campaign.
The beginning of the journey to the top.
The 15-year-old, a graduate of the famed Mouratoglou Academy, first rose to fame at Wimbledon 2019. She kicked off the Grass Slam becoming the youngest tennis player in the Open era to reach the main draw via qualifying. Corey then defeated Venus Williams, who is an incredible 23 years older than her, after which she won two more matches, only losing to future tournament champion Simona Halep in the round of 16. At the same time, Gauff became the youngest Wimbledon fourth-round entrant since 15-year-old Jennifer Capriati in 1991. As the tournament progressed, the American worked through school problems (she wrote an essay before the final of rating) and wowed with its spontaneity (“I screamed a lot when I saw Beyoncé’s mom post me on social media. I hope she told her daughter about me.”).
The American Gauff is 15 years old. But she will earn more than Serena.
20-time TBS champion Roger Federer’s agency noticed the teenager a few months before her Wimbledon breakthrough and helped her sign a contract with an Italian pasta maker, which the Swiss himself advertises. The American also has sponsorship agreements with Head and NewBalance: these are tennis rackets and sports uniforms, respectively. By the way, Federer himself, on the eve of the match between Gauff and Halep, noted that he would not even be surprised by his victory in the entire tournament. After a strong performance in London, the Atlanta native received major advances and high expectations.
In October 2019, Gauff made headlines again as the new superstar of the women’s tour. The young American won the WTA 250 tournament in Linz, becoming the youngest title holder since 2004. Let’s add that on the way to the title she beat Kiki Bertens, star representative of the Netherlands in the top ten of the women’s world ranking. At the same time, many experts worried that the rapid rise of America’s schoolgirls would not last long. The tennis community worried that Corey would soon share the fate of other prodigies who shone early in their careers and then shattered expectations. One can remember the examples of Bianca Andreescu, who won the US Open – 2019 – and then disappeared for almost two years due to injuries and motivation problems. Only four years later, the Canadian began to perform consistently, but she still cannot return to her previous level. Sofia Kenin unexpectedly became the winner of the 2020 Australian Open, but she was unable to maintain stability to stay in the top group for a long time. Finally, Emma Raducanu made a breakthrough just two years ago at the US Open. The British, who defeated Leila Fernández in the junior final, is showing no results at the moment, as she spends most of her time in a hospital bed.
The unenviable path of the US Open champion. Raducanu exchanged the field for a hospital bed
However, Gauff did not break down. The American, known since childhood for her fighting spirit, managed to create a unique achievement. Corey managed to reach at least the fourth round of all Grand Slam tournaments. The teen herself first reached the TBS singles final at the 2022 French Open, but she only lost to world number one Iga Swiatek, who was in phenomenal shape at the time. In the same season, the athlete reached the championship final in Fort West for the first time. It is true that the American failed in that tournament, she lost all her team’s games and failed to reach the playoffs.
Cori Gauff and Iga Swiatek at the RG 2022 ceremony
Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Gauff’s breakout season was 2023. In August, the 19-year-old Atlanta native won the 500 meters in Washington and then won the 1,000 in Cincinnati. This success is really significant for the new tennis superstar, because she won the most important title of her career and in the semifinals of the tournament she was able to defeat the leader of the WTA ranking, Iga Swiatek, for the first time.
The best tennis players in the world did not reach the final in Cincinnati! Swiatek and Sabalenka lost
Despite her young age, Corey entered the US Open as one of the big favorites for the title. The road to the main match of the local tournament turned out to be extremely thorny for the American: in three of her six matches, Gauff won in three matches. At the same time, the tennis player even managed to joke. After defeating Belgium representative Elise Mertens in the round of 16, the Williams Jr. heiress said it was the presence of Canadian singer Justin Bieber in the stands that helped her put this game behind her.
“I was like, ‘I can’t lose to Justin Bieber!’ I haven’t lost a single game since I saw him,” Gauff told ESPN US.
In the main match of her career, Corey will face the eminent Belarusian tennis player Aryna Sabalenka, who next week will unseat Swiatek from the top and take the lead on the women’s tour for the first time. The young American, who moves beautifully on the court and bets on an athletic style, will meet a player with similar tennis skills. Gauff can create a real fairy tale in front of his audience on Saturday, September 8. You can see all the events of the women’s individual final in the “Championship”.