Coco Gauff Reveals Her Two Tennis Idols and What They’ve Taught Her

She’s making a name for herself on the court, much like her inspirations did.
Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff.

Coco Gauff grew up playing on the same public courts in Delray Beach, Fla., that Serena and Venus Williams frequented when they were young. Since the start, the 19-year-old has been—in many ways—following in their footsteps.

Gauff cemented that similarity between herself and her two idols when she won the U.S. Open this past fall, becoming the youngest American tennis player to win since Serena Williams in 1999.

In a recent interview with Vogue, the young star revealed that she’s looked up to the Williams sisters since she was about 4 years old. As Gauff’s dad once sat watching Serena play, young Coco looked on and declared that she, too, “wanted to be the GOAT,” according to Vogue.

Gauff has met her idols several times over the years, and each time they have left her with a little wisdom. When she was in elementary school, she portrayed a young Serena in a commercial. On set, she met the tennis icon, who said something to the effect of, “Focus on your growth and your own rate of success, not other people’s,” she told Vogue.

A mere five or so years later, she faced Venus in the first round at Wimbledon in 2019. That match, which Gauff won in straight sets, and subsequent doubles matches gave the young player even more wisdom. “[Venus] taught me the importance of humility, and the importance of enjoying life outside of tennis, and also the importance of letting your emotions out on the court,” Gauff told Vogue.

The great impact that the Williams sisters have had on Gauff as a player is evident in her success. She’s on a similar trajectory—and maybe on her way to being the GOAT, just like she’s always wanted.

Martha Zaytoun


Martha Zaytoun is a Lifestyle & Trending News writer for SI Swimsuit. Before joining the team, Martha worked on the editorial board of the University of Notre Dame’s student magazine and on the editorial team at Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham Magazines in North Carolina. When not working, Martha loves to watercolor and oil paint, run or water ski. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a huge Fighting Irish fan.