Cori “Coco” Gauff is just now beginning to process what it feels like to be at the next level of international tennis stardom.
“If somebody told me this three weeks ago, I probably wouldn’t believe it,” the 15-year-old said. “But I think just putting in the work definitely raised my confidence because I knew how hard I worked and I knew shots I could make and what was possible.”
On Monday in the fourth round of Wimbledon Gauff lost to No. 7 Simona Halep in straight sets.
Gauff, Barty out as Serena, Nadal, Djokovic, Federer win on Wimbledon’s ‘Manic Monday’
Halep, who was the world No. 1 in January, advances to the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 6-3 win. The 27-year-old Romanian has one major title: the French Open in 2018.
After becoming the youngest player to reach Wimbledon through qualifying, Gauff entered the tournament ranked No. 313 in the world. By the end of the tournament, she will be inside the top 150. Wimbledon was her Grand Slam main draw singles debut.
As a celebrity she’ll go to Delray Beach, Florida her hometown.
The comeback kid – and then some! 👏
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 5, 2019
Gauff and Brit partner Jay Clarke did suffer a 6-1 6-4 defeat against Robert Lindstedt and Jelena Ostapenko in the mixed doubles.
But that was hardly going to take the smile off her face for long, particularly after getting a special message from the former First Lady.
Michelle Obama congratulated Coco Gauff on her Wimbledon victory.
Coco is terrific! 👏🏾 https://t.co/13vsVKdjFP
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) July 5, 2019
Giddy Gauff said: “I just saw the tweet. We don’t talk personally.
“I don’t have her number or anything — although I’d like that!
“I was super-excited. She’s one of my role models with the way she handles herself.
“So it was just cool to see she knows I exist. Two weeks ago I didn’t think I was coming here.
“It’s just all happened so quickly.”
Gauff and Clarke were no match for Swede Lindstedt and Latvia’s Ostapenko on Court No 2.
Yet it has been an astonishing first Wimbledon week for Gauff, who took the hearts of tennis fans having become the youngest-ever qualifier.
As much a part of Team Coco are admiring parents Candi and Corey.
And Gauff joked her mother had “gone viral” and become “a meme” for the way she wildly celebrated her comeback win over Polona Hercog.
It earned the rookie a last-16 date with Simona Halep tomorrow.
And mum Candi says it has been awesome watching her little girl’s impressive run — which initiated with that surprise win over five-time champion Venus Williams.
Candi said: “Coco is enjoying it. She went out and blew kisses. She’s happy. You can just look at her face. It’s saying, ‘I fought and I won’.
“I thought her reaction was a sign of grace, a sign of appreciation, a sign of humility.”
Gauff, still nine months shy of her 16th birthday, add up her parents are her secret weapon.