In our below write-up of Cori Gauff for The 21 & Under Club, we discuss the 15-year-old American's WTA main-draw debut at this year's Miami Open. Now, we can discuss her Grand Slam main-draw debut.

It will come at Wimbledon, thanks to Gauff's trio of wins at the qualifying tournament in Roehampton. Gauff, who I profiled two years ago in Boca Raton, completed her straight-set run to the big show on Thursday, with a 6-1, 6-1 rout of Greet Minnen. Two days earlier, she defeated the No. 1 seed, Aliona Bolsova Zadoinov, who just weeks ago reached the fourth round at Roland Garros.

"I'm 15, I'm playing Wimbledon, what else can you ask for?" Gauff told after her 6-3, 6-4 victory. "I didn't really feel any nerves the whole time."

To those who have never followed Gauff, this surge might come as something of a shock. But those who know about Gauff's ambitions and inspirations probably saw this explosion coming.

"Serena Williams has always been my idol, and Venus—they're the reason I wanted to pick up a tennis racquet," Gauff said. "I'm just super happy and thankful that they chose to play tennis.

In 1997—seven years before Gauff was born—Venus Williams made her main-draw debut at Wimbledon. Twenty-two years later, they'll compete in the same draw.

Here's hoping for a first-round collision with either Williams sister.

Instagram: cocogauff

Most-Liked Photo of 2019: Crouched on court in Miami, with hands over face.


At first glance, Gauff’s most-liked photo of 2019 seems like something she wouldn’t like: disappointment. Rather, it was the moment she won her first WTA main-draw match—in her WTA main-draw debut—and she didn’t quite know to react.

“I served for the match and I was like, ‘Do I have to return again, or do we shake hands?’” said Gauff, who turned 15 just days earlier. “I didn’t really think it was over.”

Cori, who commonly goes by the nickname Coco, should quickly get used to victory at the game’s highest level. Like many in The 21 & Under Club, she’s thrived at every other level she’s competed in. Gauff finished runner-up at the 2017 junior US Open, to Amanda Anisimova; the following year, at Roland Garros, she won her first junior Grand Slam singles title.

Touted as a can’t-miss star since she was 12, Gauff might be the perfect player to assume the role of the Next Great American: She’s already dec-lared that she wants to become No. 1.

“The physical side seems there, as does the mental side,” says Tracy Austin. “The hunger seems there. Not many young ladies are as strong as she is at 15. She’s well on her way.”

The 21 & Under Club: Cori Gauff

The 21 & Under Club: Cori Gauff


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