By JOVICA ILIC
Twelve months ago, Cori Gauff came to Wimbledon as a teenage sensation and Roland Garros junior winner, standing as one of the favorites at the All England Club as well. The champion in Roehampton a week earlier, Cori lost to Xiyu Wang in three close sets in the quarter-final, returning a year later to make the main draw in the professional event at the staggering age of 15!
Last week, the young American received the wild card for the main qualifying event (she concluded the junior career after winning Orange Bowl in December, still at the age of 14) and left everything behind her to reach Roehampton and get some practice on the fastest surface ahead of tough matches.
As it turned out, the super talented kid had more than enough time to adjust her strokes for grass, scoring three commanding wins against much older and more experienced opponents to secure the place in the main draw at Wimbledon at such a young age.
Thus, Cori has become the youngest player to qualify for the main action at the most significant event in the tennis world in the Open era, adding another record to his already impressive tally and continuing to forge her way towards the top of the WTA while her coevals still dream about some small junior success.
To make things even better, Gauff couldn’t switch her focus entirely on tennis, having to take a science test remotely on the night before the last qualifying round where she took down the Belgian Greet Minnen 6-1, 6-1 in swift 55 minutes to write history an open the door of the sacred tennis courts just three months after turning 15.
Cori is also the youngest player in Wimbledon women’s draw since Laura Robson who had the opportunity to make a debut also at 15 back in 2009, saving energy and hoping to pass the first obstacle and deliver the first Grand Slam win.“It feels great, I didn’t know that. The more you know, I guess,” Gauff said. “I don’t know about any of the records I break until after until somebody tells me. I feel blessed that I’m able to.
I’m thankful that my parents never put any limitations on my goals because sometimes parents can do that. My parents always told me to shoot as high as I wanted to. And I’m just happy that, not only did they accept my goals, they sacrificed everything to make sure I get there”.
Source: Tennis World