Coco Gauff has been making waves in the tennis world ever since she turned pro in 2018. The 19-year-old American sensation has been shattering records and overcoming obstacles on her way to the top. Her latest achievement is winning the US Open 2023 women’s singles title, her first Grand Slam trophy.
Gauff’s path to glory has been filled with challenges and surprises. She started playing tennis at the age of six, following the footsteps of her idols Venus and Serena Williams. She moved from Atlanta to Delray Beach, Florida, with her family to access better training facilities. Her parents, both former college athletes, supported her ambitions and coached her along the way.
Gauff made her breakthrough in 2019, when she became the youngest player in Wimbledon’s history to qualify for the main draw. She shocked the world by defeating five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in the first round, and reached the fourth round before losing to eventual champion Simona Halep. Later that year, she won her first WTA title in Linz, Austria, becoming the youngest singles title-holder on the Tour since 2004.
In 2021, Gauff reached her first Grand Slam final in women’s doubles at the US Open, partnering with Caty McNally. She also reached her first Grand Slam singles final at the 2022 French Open, where she lost to Iga Swiatek. However, she did not let that setback deter her. She bounced back in 2023, winning her first WTA 1000 title at the Cincinnati Masters and then clinching her maiden Grand Slam singles title at the US Open.
At Flushing Meadows, Gauff showed her maturity, resilience and talent. She survived a tough draw that included former champions Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Ostapenko, rising star Karolina Muchova and world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka. She came back from a set down in three matches, including the final against Sabalenka, where she won 2-6, 6-3, 6-2. She became the youngest US Open champion since Serena Williams in 1999, and the youngest American to win a major since Jennifer Capriati in 1991.
Gauff’s success is not only a reflection of her skills and hard work, but also of her education and upbringing. Despite her hectic schedule and travels, Gauff has not neglected her studies. She has pursued her education through traditional means, supplemented with homeschooling. She graduated from high school in May 2022 with honors, and has expressed interest in attending college in the future.
Gauff has also been outspoken about social issues, such as racial justice and equality. She has participated in protests and rallies, and has used her platform to raise awareness and inspire change. She has named her grandmother, Yvonne Lee Odom, as one of her role models. Odom was the first Black student to attend Delray Beach’s all-white Seacrest High School in 1961, breaking down the barriers of segregation.
Gauff is a shining example of what can be achieved with talent, dedication and passion. She is not only a tennis star, but also a role model for young people around the world. She has proven that age is just a number, and that dreams can come true with hard work and perseverance.
But Gauff’s US Open triumph is not her only remarkable achievement in 2023. She has also won four other titles this year:
- The Citi Open in Washington D.C., where she defeated three Top 20 players: Elina Svitolina, Maria Sakkari and Camila Giorgi.
- The National Bank Open in Montreal, where she beat Naomi Osaka in the quarterfinals and Karolina Pliskova in the final.
- The Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, where she avenged her French Open loss to Iga Swiatek in the semifinals and outlasted Ashleigh Barty in a three-set thriller in the final.
- The Viking International Eastbourne on grass, where she overcame Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Ons Jabeur en route to the title.
With these impressive results, Gauff has climbed to No. 3 in the world rankings, behind Sabalenka and Barty. She has also qualified for the WTA Finals in Shenzhen for the second consecutive year.
Gauff’s remarkable rise is also due to the guidance of her coaches, who have helped her improve various aspects of her game and mentality.
Her main coach is Pere Riba, a former Spanish player who reached World No. 65 in singles and won two ATP doubles titles. Riba started working with Gauff in 2021, and has helped her develop a more aggressive and versatile style, as well as a stronger mindset. Riba has praised Gauff’s potential, work ethic and personality, and has said that he enjoys working with her.
Her consultant coach is Brad Gilbert, a former American player who reached World No. 4 in singles and won 20 ATP titles. Gilbert joined Gauff’s team in July 2023, and has brought his experience and wisdom to the table. Gilbert is known for his tactical acumen and his ability to help players maximize their strengths and exploit their opponents’ weaknesses. He has previously coached Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, among others. Gilbert has said that he was looking for the right player to coach, and that he found it in Gauff.
Together, Riba and Gilbert have formed a strong bond with Gauff and her family, and have created a positive and supportive environment for her. They have also helped her deal with the pressure and expectations that come with being a young star. They have said that they are proud of Gauff’s achievements, but also aware that she still has a lot of room for improvement.
Gauff has shown that she can compete with and beat the best players on any surface and at any stage. She has also demonstrated a remarkable consistency and improvement throughout the season. She is undoubtedly one of the most exciting players to watch on the tour, and one of the most promising prospects for the future of American tennis.
We at Rising Africa want to celebrate Coco today. You are such a talented and truly amazing young lady. Keep pushing higher and higher and redefining what is possible. You are truly a Rising African and an able role model for the new African. Rising Africa is a dynamic platform that highlights the remarkable achievements of Africans worldwide and provides up-to-date information on scholarships and sponsorships available to African youth. Our vision is to inspire and empower the next generation of African leaders by showcasing the diverse accomplishments and talents of Africans across different fields, including technology, business, arts and culture, and social activism.
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