“I wouldn’t be here without you.”
That’s what 15-year tennis prodigy Cori “Coco” Gauff said to Venus Williams after she defeated the five time champion, 6-4, 6-4, in the first round of Wimbledon. It was her debut appearance.
Last week Gauff made headlines for becoming the youngest tennis player to qualify for Wimbledon in the Open era. At that time she shared how the Williams sisters inspired her to pick up a tennis racquet.
“Serena Williams has always been an idol, and Venus, I mean, they’re the reason I wanted to pick up a tennis racket,” Gauff told reporters after qualifying.
Gauff was visibly stunned and emotional after realizing she beat one of her idols.
“This was definitely the first time I ever cried after winning a match. I don’t even know how to explain how I feel.
“I had to tell myself to stay calm, I’d never played on a court so big. I had to remind myself that the lines are the same size.”
She also shared what Williams had to say following their match.
"Venus told me congratulations and keep going, she said good luck and I told her thanks for everything she did.”
Williams provided great feedback on Gauff when she was asked for her thoughts on the rising star's future.
"I think the sky's the limit, it really is. She did everything well today. She put the ball in the court, which was much better than I did. She served well, moved well. It was a great match for her,” Williams said.
At just 15-years-old, Gauff is truly one to watch!
"I'm really happy Wimbledon gave me the chance to play, I never thought I would get this far."
Gauff advances to the second round and will face a 2017 Wimbledon finalist, Magdalena Rybarikova.