15-year-old Cori Gauff used an underdog mental trick made famous by the movie 'Hoosiers' to upset Venus Williams at Wimbledon

Clive Brunskill/Getty ImagesVenus Williams congratulates Coco Gauff after their opening-round match at Wimbledon.
  • 15-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff defeated one of her idols, Venus Williams, in the opening round of The Championships at Wimbledon.
  • Gauff was asked how she was able to stay so calm during the match, and she cited a mental trick made famous by the movie “Hoosiers” and the film’s fictional coach, Norman Dale.
  • Gauff said she had never played on such a big court, but she kept reminding herself that the lines that mattered still had the same dimensions as any other court she has played on before.
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Venus Williams and Serena Williams are still the faces of American tennis, but the future of the sport might be 15-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff, who grew up idolizing the sisters.

During the opening round of Wimbledon on Monday, Gauff upset Venus Williams, who was 24 and already a 2-time Wimbledon champ when Gauff was born.

Read more: A 15-year-old American who had to take a science test last week just beat Venus Williams in the first round at Wimbledon

After the win, Gauff was asked how she was able to remain so calm and composed during the biggest match of her career so far. Gauff cited a mental trick for underdogs made famous by the fictional high school basketball coach Norman Dale in the movie “Hoosiers.”

“I’ve never played on a court so big,” Gauff said. “I had to remind myself that the lines on the court are the same size. Everything around it might be bigger, but the lines are the same. After every point, I was just telling myself to stay calm.”

In “Hoosiers,” Dale’s team from tiny Hickory, Indiana reached the state championship game where they would face a squad from a much larger school in an Indianapolis gym much bigger than anything they had ever played in before.

When the team first arrives in Indianapolis, Dale takes them to the arena and, using a tape measure, shows the small-town players that the basket is the same height, and the lines are the same distance as their tiny gym back in Hickory.

Hickory went on to win the state championship.

Gauff might not be ready to win Wimbledon, but she’s got the right attitude, and it already helped her upset one of the best tennis players of all time.

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