For those of you that haven't heard, there's a new American tennis star on the rise. 15-year-old Cori "Coco" Gauff just recently showed the world her talent when she defeated 39-year-old Venus Williams, American professional tennis player, and champion, during the first round of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.
The tennis community has been speaking about the young player for years now. Her successes thus far consist of winning the Orange Bowl in Florida at the age of 12, reaching the finals in the junior US Open at age 13, and becoming the French Open junior girls champion last year.
Gauff comes from a sports background. Her father, Corey Gauff, played basketball at Georgia State, and her mother, Candi Gauff, was a heptathlete and hurdler at Florida state.
Although Gauff's father wanted her to follow in his footsteps and play basketball, she chose tennis and began playing at the age of 7. Most interestingly, it was for the success that Serena and Venus Williams had when Gauff was little that inspired her to choose tennis and set her goals. She has looked up to both Serena and Venus Williams her entire life. In a press conference after the 1-hour-and-19-minute match against Williams, Gauff explains that Venus Williams is her idol. Gauff modeled her own game after Williams and has been compared to her in the way that she plays many times in her career. Playing against Williams was "obviously her dream draw", she says.
"My goal was to play my best. My dream was to win. That's what happened. I think people just kind of limit themselves too much."
Viewers see in the press conference that there is much to learn from this wise and talented girl. A lot of the attention she has received surrounds the fact that she went up against her idol on one of the biggest stages in tennis and delivered. How? Gauff demonstrates a focused and determined mindset. She explained in the conference that she wasn't thinking about her opponent, rather about herself and her game. This train of thought clearly helped advance her to win since she was able to hit her first serves at 110 miles per hour and occasionally get her second serves over 100 miles per hour.
Gauff was also incredibly gracious throughout the entire experience and her career. Before each match she plays, she and her father say a prayer for the safety of Gauff and her opponent, not for victory. After her win against Williams, she took the time to not only shake hands with Williams but thank her for all that she has done for the sport and for Gauff. She then went to her bench where she said a prayer thanking God for the opportunity she just experienced.
Finally, Gauff demonstrates an attitude that proves a person can do whatever they set their mind to. There isn't a combination of words to better convey Gauff's message than her very own. In the conference, Gauff explains, "My dad told me that I could do this when I was 8. Obviously, you never believe it. I'm still not, like 100 percent confident. But, like, you have to just say things. You never know what happens. If I went into this match saying, 'Let me see how many games I can get against her,' then I most definitely would not have won. My goal was to play my best. My dream was to win. That's what happened. I think people just kind of limit themselves too much."
We should all be inspired by Cori Gauff's wisdom and talent and infuse her unparalleled determination into our own lives. Of course, this is all while we cheer her on in her next match against Magdalena Rybarikova in the Wimbledon Championships.