If you haven’t watched a Cori “Coco” Gauff tennis match yet, you should fix that after today. The 15-year-old became the fifth-youngest woman to ever reach the Round of 16 at Wimbledon in the Open Era on Friday, beating Slovenia’s Polona Hercog, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-5.
But it was the way Gauff did it that was so exhilarating, after she stormed back, fending off two match points in the process:
Once she won the second set, she and her mom were very pumped up, as you might expect. But I mean, damn, this is some fucking energy:
Honestly, how could you not root for that? And if Friday was the first time you had tuned into a Gauff match, you hadn’t even had a chance to fall in love with her backstory.
Gauff’s story is the kind of stuff we love about sports. She first caught the world’s attention after she beat one of her childhood idols in Venus Williams, 6-4, 6-4, in the first round of the tournament. At 15 years old.
ESPN’s D’Arcy Maine published a story on Gauff, which includes her dad Corey recalling watching the 2009 Australian Open final between Serena Williams and Dinara Safina:
It was early morning at their family home in Atlanta, but his young daughter was captivated by the match on the screen. Williams ultimately won in convincing fashion, 6-0, 6-3, to claim her 10th Grand Slam title. “She’s the GOAT,” Corey remembers saying in awe.
His daughter, then 4, didn’t know what “GOAT” meant, but once he explained it stood for “Greatest of All Time,” her eyes got wide, and she said defiantly: “I want to be the GOAT.”
A lot of parents have similar moments, but even just reading that, knowing what she has accomplished this week will send chills down your spine.
When I was 15 years old, I think I was nationally ranked in the NCAA Football video game at some point? Like ... congrats, dork.
After she beat Williams, her father told Maine:
“I remember one match where she lost the first set, 6-0, and then was down, 5-0, in the second, and she somehow turned it around and won it. I asked her after what happened, or what clicked, and she just said she really didn’t want to lose. It’s those nerves and ability that make her so special.”
It would seem she decided on Friday that she really didn’t want to lose then, either.
We’re all glad Gauff decided she was going to send Hercog packing, and hope she keeps that same energy moving forward, because she is an absolute joy to watch. Her next match will be against No. 7 Simona Halep on Monday. Don’t miss it, you might just see something special again.