Fifteen-year-old Cori Gauff again seized the opportunity to get the better of seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams in the first round of the Australian Open. The American tennis prodigy is ranked 67th while Williams, a former No 1, is now 55th. Williams was playing in a Grand Slam tournament’s main draw for the 85th time, a record for the professional era. In the first round, Gauff faced a far experienced and rough, compatriot Venus Williams and their match marked the biggest age gap — 23 years — between the two players.
Gauff beat Williams 7-6 (5), 6-3 on Monday. “I was a bit shocked. I’m sure everyone was a bit shocked,” said Gauff. She stunned Venus in the first round to begin her first appearance in the main draw at Melbourne Park, just like at Wimbledon last year and at the All England Club before that.
Gauff is the youngest woman competing at the Australian Open while Venus was the oldest.
Florida resident Gauff touted as the next Serena Williams outclassed the veteran in style. She said, “That was really difficult. She played really well. I was really nervous.”
- The American tennis prodigy Cori Gauff is ranked 67th while Venus Williams, a former No 1, is now 55th.
- Gauff, 15, played Williams, 39, in the first round of the Australian Open, just like what happened at Wimbledon last year.
- Gauff is the youngest woman competing at the Australian Open while Venus was the oldest.
“I definitely was more confident this time. I think I was used to playing on big courts, so the crowd — I guess the size of the crowd didn’t startle me as much as last time,” Gauff said adding that “Definitely a bit more positive coming into this match.”
Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff beat Williams, a 7-Time Slam Winner. Gauff is ranked 67th while Williams, a former No. 1, is 55th. Williams was playing in a Grand Slam tournament’s main draw for the 85th time, a record for the professional era.
Talking about her goals, she said, “I mean, my mission is to be the greatest. That’s my goal, to win as many Grand Slams as possible. But for today, my mission was to win.”
This is Gauff’s third major. Williams was playing her first match of 2020. She couldn’t play at the start of January because of a hip injury. “She clearly wants it and works very hard and is extremely mature for her age,” Williams said. “The sky’s the limit for her.”
“I guess I came to the realization that I need to play my game, not worry about what people think of me. I still have a lot more to, I guess, become like one of those ‘big names,’ I feel like I still have a lot to improve,” Gauff expressed.
Feature Image Credit: The New Yorker