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Huge Wimbledon Upset: 15-Year-Old Beats Venus Williams

The future is bright for Cori 'Coco' Gauff, Williams says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2019 3:15 PM CDT
United States' Cori "Coco" Gauff reacts after beating United States's Venus Williams in a Women's singles match during day one of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Monday, July 1, 2019.   (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

(Newser) – Cori "Coco" Gauff was already, at 15, the youngest player of the Open era to advance to Wimbledon's main draw through qualifying rather than direct entry—and in her tournament debut Monday, the teen bested none other than five-time Wimbledon champ Venus Williams, CNN reports. Williams, who has won seven Grand Slam titles and four Olympic gold medals, is one of Gauff's idols, and the teen told the BBC after her win, "I don't really know how to feel, this is the first time I've cried after a match, after winning." She added that she told Williams, 39, "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for her, she's so inspiring. I've always wanted to tell her that but I've never had the guts to before." This is just the second time Williams, who made her Wimbledon debut in 1997, has been defeated in the first round of the tournament.

Gauff, of Delray Beach, Florida, is currently ranked No. 313 in the world. "Venus Williams, when the draw was coming out, said, 'please don't put me against Coco Gauff' because it's like looking in the mirror," three-time Wimbledon men's champion John McEnroe told the BBC. "I don't say this lightly but if she isn't No.1 by the time she is 20 I would be absolutely shocked." Williams herself said of Gauff's future, "I think the sky's the limit, it really is." Gauff says it was Venus and her sister Serena who first inspired her to start playing tennis. She'll face Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova in Wimbledon's second round. USA Today has more on the teen's background, and notes that she started training in Paris at age 10 and won the junior French Open title at 14. (Read more Venus Williams stories.)

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