Cori “Coco” Gauff the 15-year-old teenage sensation created quite the stir in this year’s Wimbledon as she became the youngest ever to qualify in the Grand Slam. This was only the first record she broke during her fairytale run. Who knew more was to come? It seemed fate that she was soon slated to play against her idol the 39-year-old Venus Williams. It was funny because the first time that Venus had lifted a Slam title, Coco wasn’t even born.
Mentality of a champion
But it wasn’t to be the old champions day this time. She was beaten dramatically by the teenage sensation and to everyone present, at SW19 it felt like the ushering in of the new era of tennis. Cori Gauff came to the Grand Slam with little expectations and carried little burden on her shoulders. She was the newcomer and the underdog. But as she beat Venus, expectations grew and as she progressed in the tournament people came to see her steely nerves and mature attitude. Saving match points in her third round to become the ultimate winner against Polona Hercog showed how mentally strong she is. For a young girl of 15 years it is quite unbelievable to fathom how she could do so well in the worlds largest stage of the sport. But watching her play admits some clues as to what sort of a player she is or what sort she will turn out to be. Her strong strokes and good handling of baseline shots shows what a professional player she is. Her play never shows any nerves and stepping on the first day against her idol Venus Williams was no mean feat. One can only imagine what a nervous wreck a 15-year-old becomes under small pressure, try imagining Coco’s state of mind out on Centre Court. Her run was dramatic and inspirational to many, but sadly there is no cast-iron pool in the sport of tennis that determines who is going to turn out winners and who losers. That is what makes it interesting. Cori has been playing well of late in doubles and singles featuring in quite a few tournaments. If she continues her spirit and gusto, she can beat anyone on her day.
Can she win a slam?
Her game already seems set, though she claims to need some tweaks here and there, everyone needs that. Although after all that, the elephant in the room remains, can she win a Grand Slam title? It is too early to claim anything about her career. Though some great WTA stars arose at a very young age there have been a lot of instances of many who fell out early and never returned to that level. How Coco manages the many hindrances that pose ahead of her will ultimately determine how she turns out as a player. Right now it is too early to determine if she could definitely win a Slam or not. There are many years to come and a lot of hard training sessions to go through and also most importantly to stand strong under the immense emotional and mental strain that fame brings. Popularity for young teens is never healthy as the mind and body are yet to mature. But with her parents by her side, and a strong support team she should be able to keep a level head and perform. As of now, respecting the WTA Under-18 rule that restricts players under the age of 18 to compete in no more than 14 events, she does continue to dazzle the crowd and her already steady growing bunch of fans.
What Coco should do
Ease of pressure, keeping her feet on the ground and not getting swept away by the numerous lucrative financial deals that pound her doors, Coco should find her footing in the WTA family. Already a star in the making, she continues to break many records, but when or where or even whether she will grab the ultimate prize of a Grand Slam remains an answer only time can tell.
|COCO GAUFF in WIMBLEDON
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