- Cori “Coco” Gauff may only be 15 years old but she’s competing at a level befitting a player ranked inside the top 20 in the world.
- That is according to renowned coach Patrick Mouratoglou who also said that, despite her progression to Monday’s Round of 16 at the Wimbledon Championships, he is still tipping his athlete Serena Williams to win the entire thing.
- If Gauff and Williams keep winning, they could meet in the final.
- “I love that Coco thinks she can win the tournament,” he said. “I think Serena is going to win.”
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Cori “Coco” Gauff is competing at the level of a player ranked inside the top-20 in the world, Patrick Mouratoglou has said.
But when it comes to tipping a winner for the Wimbledon women’s singles title, Mouratoglou cannot look past his own athlete, Serena Williams.
Mouratoglou knows both competitors better than most. He has been coaching Williams since 2012, helping her add three Wimbledon championships, three US Open titles, two French Open trophies, and an Olympic gold medal to her ever-expanding honours.
But he has also known Gauff, the 15-year-old who has been taking the All England Club by storm this week, since she was 10, having worked with her at his academy in the south of France.
Gauff beat Venus Williams and Magdalena Rybarikova in straight sets on Monday and Wednesday, setting up a third round match against Polona Hercog on Friday.
Though she was staring at defeat, two match points down in the second set, Gauff adjusted and showed remarkable mettle to win, beating Hercog two sets to one much to the delight of the Centre Court crowd.
Mouratoglou, though, is wary about talking to the teenager about her new-found fame.
“Coco was completely unknown when she came here, but now she’s big, she’s everywhere, and I don’t want to talk to her about that,” Mouratoglou told Wtatennis.com. “Believe me, we’re into the tournament and the only thing I don’t want her to realise is how big she is. She shouldn’t realise where she is, how big she has become – she just has to play, keep focused, and go as far as she can.
“I’m not surprised at the level of tennis Coco is playing … because I’ve known her qualities since she was 10 years old. Perhaps I’m surprised that it has come so fast.”
Gauff had the crowd in the palm of her hand Friday, and her appeal extended beyond Centre Court as The Hill was also captivated by her come-from-behind performance.
“When was the last time that you saw someone ranked around 300 in the world playing someone unseeded on Centre Court? What she is doing is so incredible. I also think people love her personality. I arrived just after the start of the match, so didn’t see the first three games. I was there waiting to go in, but I knew when she was winning points and when she was losing points just by listening to the crowd.”
Gauff now has a fourth round match against former world No.1 player Simona Halep to prepare for on Monday, but should she keep winning, she could face Serena Williams in the tournament final providing the veteran American continues to win, too.
“I love that Coco thinks she can win the tournament,” he said. “I think that’s great. Everything is possible in life. The chance of her winning the tournament is not big. There is always a chance when you believe and she believes. I think Serena is going to win.”