At 15, Coco Gauff has already accomplished something that millions of young athletes dream about.
Having an undefeated record against your favorite player.
On Monday, Gauff defeated Venus Williams 7-6 (5), 6-3 in the first round of the Australian Open, just as she did back in July in the opening round at Wimbledon.
“That was really difficult. She played really well,” Gauff said. “I was really nervous.”
“I definitely was more confident this time. I think I was used to playing on big courts, so the crowd — I guess the size of the crowd didn’t startle me as much as last time,” Gauff explained. “Definitely a bit more positive coming into this match.”
Gauff became a household name last summer after receiving a wild card into the Wimbledon qualifying draw, becoming the youngest woman to qualify for the tournament in the modern era.
After beating Williams in the first round in straight sets, she went on to defeat Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round before pulling off a huge comeback against Polona Hercog as she overcame two match points in the second set to advance to the Fourth Round. Her run ended when she fell to Simona Halep in straight sets in the Round of 16 at Wimbledon.
“I learned how to play in front of a big crowd. I learned what it was like to be under pressure. I learned a lot, and I’m really thankful for this experience,” said Gauff about the experience.
In October, Gauff won her first singles titles when she defeated Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3, 1-6, 6-2, at the Upper Austria Ladies Linz.
Gauff will take on Romania’s Sorana Cirstea on Tuesday.