The 15-year old tennis phenom has stolen the sports spotlight and our hearts.
Last Sunday, the biggest thing in sports was the NBA free agency signing craze, with the main questions being where would Durant, Kyrie and Kawhi end up?
Before the official 6pm signing period that evening, the decisions had been made clear, and by about 8pm EST, the only things left to do were to continue to rip the Knicks and watch out for the team that Kawhi decided upon.
The week went by, and while we watched the media speculate about whether Kawhi would be with the Lakers or Toronto, the US Women’s National Team captured our attention with a big win over England, helping them advance to the Women’s World Cup Championship game.
But another name crept into the picture, and then quickly snatched the spotlight.
At the age of 15, Cori “Coco” Gauff became the youngest player in history to qualify for Wimbledon. She’s a high schooler who, the night before the final qualifying match, had to take a science test and then win the next day to make it to Wimbledon. Her first match? Against one of her idols, Venus Williams.
“I’ve been dreaming to share the court with Venus,” she said before the match.
She would go on to beat Williams and the spotlight has been hers since that 6-4, 6-4 victory.
“I never thought this would happen,” said Gauff after that match. “I don’t know how to explain it. I’m literally living my dream. Not many people get to say that.”
And she’s still living her dream as Gauff advanced to beat Magdalena Rybarikova, and then staged an thrilling comeback to beat Polona Hercog today, 3-6, 7-6, 7-5, to move on to the round of 16.
The Comeback Kid. 15-year-old Coco Gauff advances to the Round of 16 💪 #Wimbledon https://t.co/yxY3qCDcBV
Gauff, ranked 313 before Wimbledon, was not a household name like the Williams sisters. Some of her teachers in high school didn’t even know she played tennis, much less that she was about to qualify for the prestigious Wimbledon.
“After I made the main draw here, two of my teachers found out I play tennis,” said Gauff. “They saw my name in an article. I have three other teachers that don’t know I play tennis. I’m not really the type of person to talk about myself, so I still think they don’t know.”
If they didn’t know before, we’re sure they know now.
Gauff has seized the spotlight from Kawhi in her first grand slam event, and while the media circus around his decision will continue to be nothing but rumor until he actually announces his decision, the young phenom can keep the spotlight shinning brightly on her rising star with every win to come.