Coco Gauff is Teen Vogue‘s latest cover star, just ahead of the upcoming US Open. In her first-ever cover story, the 15-year-old tennis sensation opens up about her work ethic, how she deals with her new fame, and how much she loves to win.
— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) August 21, 2019
Playing Wimbledon 2019 as a qualifier, Gauff became the story of the tournament by knocking out idol Venus Williams in the first round and then battling into the fourth round. Media started dubbing her a “prodigy”, but her father Corey has different thoughts, knowing how much work was put into the development of a “phenomenon”:
I understand the Webster’s dictionary [definition] of it, and maybe it’s applicable, but to me, it’s like [Bobby] Fischer in chess. Somebody [who] can see the chessboard. That’s a prodigy to me. They just have a mental capability that’s so unique and so off the charts. When it comes to something like tennis, [Coco] works hard. This is not an accident. She might be overnight popular, but she’s not an overnight success.
Coco’s former coach Jewel Peterson shares the same perspective:
Coco is a coach’s dream. I never had to tell her, ‘Run your laps, do your dynamic.’ I never had to tell her how to start her practice. She did it on her own. To this day, I still have not seen anybody that driven.
The hard work is paying off. The teenager’s career prize money at the moment is $312,300, $298,390 of which she earned this season. The match wins are just a portion of the young American’s income streams: she’s played just one main draw of a Grand Slam and her endorsement deals already include New Balance sportswear, Head racquets, and the pasta company Barilla Group.
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) August 21, 2019
The rise in popularity is complicating Coco’s life to an extent. For example, her family car was followed and they had to stop at a police station:
We’ve just kind of been making sure we change our schedule every day so no one, like, I don’t know, figures out what we do. My dad’s crazy, so I think we’ll be OK.
For the future, Coco’s vision and path are simple:
I just want to win more. I love winning more than I hate losing.
Coco’s next opportunity to win matches will come at the August 26th–September 7th US Open, which she plays as a wildcard. It will be her second appearance in the main draw of a Grand Slam. (photo credit: Camila Falquez for Teen Vogue)