“Don’t Want to Be Known as Serena Williams’ Heir” – Coco Gauff Plays Down Comparisons with Her Idol

Published 05/29/2021, 4:17 AM EDT
Mar 25, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Cori Gauff of the United States hits a forehand against Anastasija Sevastova of Latvia (not pictured) of the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Even though they are 22 years apart, it still hasn’t stopped the tennis world from comparing American teen tennis prodigy Coco Gauff to 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. And, the comparisons have a lot to do with how Gauff’s young career has taken an uncannily similar trajectory to Serena’s.

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She started making waves in the senior circuit at an age when most girls are still not out of ITF Futures or junior events, drawing obvious parallels with the champion.

The fourth-round finish in her debut Grand Slam, that too on a wildcard at Wimbledon, got many to label her as the next Serena in the making.

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And the fact that she took down five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in her debut Grand Slam match and has heavy groundstrokes like you-know-who made these voices grow louder.

At 17, the starlet from Delray Beach, Florida became the youngest American woman after younger Williams sister to break into the Top-30 in singles after winning her second Tour title at WTA Parma.

Coco Gauff says she wants to create a name for herself

However, speaking to reporters ahead of this year’s French Open, Gauff said that while she doesn’t mind the Serena comparisons, she wants to establish her own identity in the sport and hold it down for years to come.

“I understand why people compare us, but I think it’s just important that I want to be known as Coco. I don’t want to be known as Serena Williams’ heir, or Serena Williams’ next thing. I just want to be known as Coco Gauff,” the current World No.25 said.

However, she conceded that she does dream of playing Serena in a tournament final, and if that moment comes at Roland-Garros, there would be nothing quite like it.

 

“Playing Serena in the final would be great. That’s the dream I have always dreamed about, playing her in a final,” she said.

Gauff says she and Serena Williams are two different persons

The 17-year-old added that though she takes a lot of pride in being compared with her more illustrious compatriot, she just focuses on being herself knowing the two are wholly different persons. 

“I am never going to be Serena Williams and Serena will never be me because we are two different people. We’ve two different brains,” Gauff said.

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The 17-year-old will open her Roland-Garros campaign against Serbian Aleksandra Krunic on Sunday.

DIVE DEEPER

“Goal Is to Just Win Grand Slams”: Coco Gauff Remains Unbothered About Rankings Ahead of French Open 2021

24 days ago

 

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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