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Coco Gauff’s Tennis Career Includes So Many Epic Moments, Even Before The 2023 US Open

Gen Z is already taking the world by storm, proving that the future is in good hands. Greta Thunberg’s activism on climate change, Olivia Rodrigo’s pop punk renaissance, and Simone Biles’ record-breaking achievements in gymnastics — just to name a few — show the power of today’s young women. Most recently, thanks to her impressive comeback this weekend, tennis phenom Coco Gauff adds her name to this roster. 

Even if you’re not the biggest sports fan, you’ve probably heard of her: the 19-year-old has been making headlines as a Gen Z athlete for some time now, and on Sept. 9, she won a Grand Slam singles title at the 2023 U.S. Open. This makes her the 11th teenager to do so, and the youngest American to get that coveted win since Serena Williams did it in 1999 at age 17. Needless to say, Gauff is a legend — but her tennis career includes some epic moments beyond this most recent win that you should know about.

Beating Venus Williams

At just 15 years old, Gauff beat none other than her idol Venus Williams at Wimbledon 2019. From an early age, watching the renowned Williams sisters compete inspired her to pursue tennis herself, so this was a true full-circle moment for Gauff. After the match, she thanked Venus for her influence on womens’ tennis. 

“She’s been an inspiration for many people,” Gauff shared in her post-match press conference. “I was just really telling her thank you. I met her before but I didn’t really have the guts to say anything, so I was like ‘now or never!'”

Reclaiming Her Happiness On The Court

Athletes have a reputation of maintaining strength and resilience, which are great qualities unless they come at the cost of one’s physical or mental health. The current generation of athletes is breaking the unrealistic standards of the sports industry, unapologetically showing vulnerability and resolving to play for themselves.

Since her career-defining run at the 2022 French Open, she’s been on a roll. “At the beginning of this year, I lost at the Australian Open and a couple first rounds,” Gauff candidly reflected in her post-match press conference. “I think I was just going into the matches trying so hard to win — not for myself, but for other people. This tournament was the first tournament this year that I went in trying to win for myself. I think that was the difference in my mentality.”

Gauff has remained open about the challenges of growing up in the spotlight, including its downsides, with pressure coming from all sides. When she let go of others’ expectation for her to win — and rediscovered her own desire to land a victory — everything changed for her.

Winning The WTA 1000 In 2023

Gauff has a whopping six titles under her belt for WTA tour singles. On Aug. 20, 2023, she beat world champion Carolina Wozniacki, top French player Jelena Ostapenko, and ultimately Karolina Muchova in the final round. This triumph occurred mere weeks before her historic U.S. Open win.


On Aug. 28, 2023, Day 1 of this year’s U.S. Open, Gauff fearlessly confronted chair umpire Marijana Veljovic over missed time violations, as the crowd cheered in support. Although she ultimately defeated her opponent, Laura Siegemund, she expressed frustration over Siegemund’s major delays and lack of preparedness. In a post-match press conference, Gauff humorously described the gameplay as “slow.”

“She’s never ready when I’m serving. She went over the clock, like, four times. You gave her time violation once. How is this fair? No, you’re calling the score, like, six seconds after the point is over,” Gauff asserted to Veljovic on camera. 

As pointed out by NPR, fans’ agreement with Gauff shows how far women’s tennis has come in supporting Black athletes, since it stands in contrast to Serena Williams’ famous back-and-forth with Carlos Ramos, the umpire of her 2018 U.S. Open match with Naomi Osaka.


It’s not just her U.S. Open win that made my night, but also her reaction to it. After shaking hands with her opponent, Aryana Sabalenka, Gauff ran straight to her parents in the stands. As collegiate athletes, both instilled a strong work ethic and sense of sportsmanship in her at a young age. Her father also served as her first-ever tennis coach, and now, he got to witness his daughter’s dreams coming true. 

Karly Ramnani is a junior at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles, studying music industry, with a strong passion for art and journalism. They discovered this amazing community shortly after starting college, and are super stoked to a national writer for Her Campus this semester. Karly worked with Her Campus in Fall 2022 as well, as the Entertainment & Culture Editorial Intern. Other outlets they've written for include All Country News, The Honey Pop, Medium, Newsbreak, and their own startup music blog Playlists & Polaroids. They currently serve as a campus ambassador for Amazon Prime Student and Tinder. When they're not writing blogposts and music reviews, you can find them composing and performing music, putting their nose in a rom-com book, binge watching "The Summer I Turned Pretty," or crying over Taylor Swift.