Fifteen-love: What you need to know about Wimbledon sensation Cori Gauff

United States' Cori "Coco" Gauff reacts after beating United States's Venus Williams in a Women's singles match during day one of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Monday, July 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Cori "Coco" Gauff reacts after beating Venus Williams. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Day one at Wimbledon provided a glimpse into the future of tennis, as Cori Gauff - aged just 15 - beat her idol Venus Williams, much to the amazement of the crowd on Number One Court.

After sinking to the ground, a visibly emotional Gauff walked to the net and shook hands with her illustrious opponent.

She had already made history by becoming the youngest player in the Open Era to enter the main draw at SW19 and further enhanced her rapidly growing reputation by taking out the former No. 1 and five-time Wimbledon winner.

Here’s what you need to know about tennis’ teen sensation.

Who is Cori Gauff?

Gauff was born on 13 March, 2004, in Atlanta, Georgia, to a sporting family - her mother was an elite 110-meter hurdler, an award-winning dancer and a talented gymnast, while her father played basketball at Georgia State University.

She started playing tennis aged seven after deciding she didn’t like football and was also inspired by seeing the Williams sisters on TV.

United States' Cori Gauff gestures to photographers during a practice session ahead of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Cori Gauff poses while doing her practice. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

In 2017, she became the youngest person to reach the final of the US Open girls’ singles tournament, aged 13. She then went on to win the French Open girls’ singles last year when she was just 14.

“I wasn't much of a team person,” she said during an interview in 2017. “I loved tennis. I was so-so about it in the beginning because when I was younger I didn't want to practice at all. I just wanted to play with my friends.”

Reaction around the world

Her stratospheric rise has caught the attention of the world media.

Former Wimbledon men’s champion John McEnroe told the BBC: “I look at the way she plays. If she’s not No. 1 in the world by 20, I will be absolutely shocked.”

“People have been talking about Coco for years,” fellow American and two-time US Open champion Tracy Austin added.

“They have now started to recognise her internationally. Obviously she's a tremendous athlete, but to walk on court to face Venus, a player who she idolises, there were plenty of opportunities for her to get tight and nervous.

“She has been raised for greatness and this is beginning.”

But despite her new-found recognition, she is incredibly mature and composed for her age.

In her post-match interview she said: “I wouldn’t say I didn’t expect to win the match, I knew I was going to go out there and play the way I play.

“I wasn’t surprised that I won, I was just overwhelmed at the end. I’d never played on a court that big and the crowd was really wild. I was just surprised that the crowd was cheering me on.”

Williams also commended Gauff’s victory, saying: “I’m really happy to see her playing great, the sky is the limit.”

Her second round match will be against the Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova on Wednesday.