Coco Gauff is one of the most exciting and talented youngsters in tennis right now.
The US star is featuring at Wimbledon this year, and looking to join the likes of Maria Sharapova and Martina Hingis in becoming a champion while still in their teens.
Gauff hasn’t made it this far alone though. Her support network including her coach and parents has been vital in her early success.
Coco Gauff at Wimbledon 2021 (so far)
It’s easy to forgot that American tennis star Coco Gauff is still just 17 years of age.
The world number 23 (and youngest player within the female’s top 100) is currently in the third round at the All-England Club.
In the first round she was simply too much for Britain’s Francesca Jones.
And in the second round she displayed poise beyond her years, dispatching 34-year-old Russian Elena Vesnina 6-4, 6-3 in convincing fashion.
That win sets up a third round match with Slovenina Kaja Juvan on Saturday.
Who is Gauff’s tennis coach?
Gauff already has a history at SW19, despite her tender years.
To date, she has only played in seven Grand Slam tournaments. One of which was Wimbledon two years ago, when she made the fourth round as a 15-year-old qualifier.
Gauff, it seems, was always destined for the top, after having a stellar junior career with coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
Mouratoglou is one of the most decorated and respected coaches in the world of tennis. He coached Serena Williams to 10 Grand Slam titles since 2012 and was a major factor in her climb back to no.1 in the world.
Patrick has a tennis academy based in France which has helped forge the new generation of tennis superstars. French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas and Coco Gauff are just two of the names he’s involved with.
Mouratoglou on meeting Gauff for the first time
When asked about Gauff and her potential as a player, Mouratoglou told the Guardian:
“She’s just different. It’s something I have known since I met her – she came to my academy at 10. I spoke to her, I had an individual one-on-one discussion with her. I said: ‘Guys, she’s different.’
“When you meet people who are exceptional, you know it. I feel it straight away. Since that day, she’s been surprising me all the time, even though I know she’s so special.
“At 14 she was more mature than women on tour who are 25. That’s incredible. She has an inner strength that is completely unusual. She has a self-confidence that serves her in her tennis.”
Gauff’s meteoric rise under the tutelage of Mouratoglou
Under Mouratoglou, Gauff would go on to finish runner-up at the 2017 US Open in just her fourth junior event.
She also went on to become the no.1 junior player in the world after winning the 2018 French Open junior singles title.
Her best Grand Slam result on the WTA Tour came in 2021. She reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros but lost to Barbora Krejčíková.
The influence of her parents, Corey and Candi Gauff, on her career
The influence Coco Gauff’s parents have had on her career cannot be overstated.
Coco was born to athletic parents with NCAA Division I collegiate backgrounds.
Her dad, Corey, was a basketball player at Georgia State, while her mother, Candi, was a hurdler and heptathlete at Florida State.
“I think it helps parents when they have played as high as college or even pro,” Corey Gauff told The New York Times.
Her parents sacrificed hugely along the way too.
Corey left his role as a healthcare executive to become his daughter’s head coach, and Candi decided to homeschool Coco on the road.
They managed to do this all the while bringing up Coco’s siblings, Cody, 11, and Cameron, 6.
Coco has spoken about her parents’ support before, explaining how instrumental it was in her believing she could be the greatest.
“My dad told me I could do this when I was eight, and obviously, you never believe it,” she said. “I’m still not 100 percent confident, but you have to say things and believe in them.”