BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROFILE:
Ashley Marshall | February 22, 2018
In celebration of Black History Month, USTA.com is taking a look at several talented, young African-American players who are following in the footsteps of pioneering players like Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and the Williams sisters and seem ready to make their own mark in tennis. Here is a look at Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff.
Coco Gauff made a splash at her first junior Grand Slam tournament last year, when she reached the girls' final at the US Open in New York. The talented 13-year-old looks up to Serena Williams as her role model, and she had the opportunity to meet her idol when she trained at the academy of Williams' coach, Patrick Mourotaglou, in France.
Residence: Delray Beach, Fla.
Current Juniors Rank: 28
- Gauff started playing tennis when she was 7 years old. She won Little Mo, a national tournament for children 8 years old and under, and decided she wanted to play more tournaments. ADVERTISEMENT She captured the U12 USTA Clay Court Nationals tournament in 2014 and, five days before Christmas 2016, won the girls’ 12s Junior Orange Bowl – a tournament that includes Madison Keys, Laura Siegemund, Sesil Karatantcheva and Tatiana Golovin as past winners.
- Gauff reached the final of the US Open girls’ tournament in 2017, losing to Amanda Anisimova in an all-American championship match. It was the third consecutive final at a major contested by U.S. girls, following Roland Garros in May and Wimbledon in July.
- The teenager has good athletic genes. Her dad, Corey, played Atlantic Sun Conference collegiate basketball for the Georgia State Panthers and still holds the school record for most steals in a game, while her mom, Candi, was an elite 110-meter hurdler and, before that, an award-winning dancer and talented gymnast.
- Gauff is currently the fifth-highest ranked American girl in the ITF World Junior Rankings. She is also the youngest player in the Top 750 and the youngest in the Top 50 by almost 18 months.
- The Florida native has played in the main draw of six girls’ tournaments on the ITF junior circuit. In addition to the final of the US Open, she also made the final of the Prince George’s County International Hard Court Junior Tennis Championships in College Park, Md., in August and the semifinals of the AGL Loy Yang Traralgon Junior International in Australia last month.