The Daily Telegraph - Business : 2020-06-29

Sport : 19 : 11

Sport

11 The Daily Telegraph Monday 29 June 2020 *** Sport Tennis One year on from Venus win, Gauff is transcendi­ng sport white – it still is – when they burst on to the scene in the Nineties. Gauff ’s parents – father Corey is Gauff’s coach and mother Candi a homeschool tutor – were clearly paying attention to their feats. With the fans behind her, Gauff went on to make the second week of Wimbledon, succumbing only to eventual champion Simona Halep 6-3, 6-3 in the last 16. On the court, much has since for Gauff. She reached the third round at the US Open before being overpowere­d by Naomi Ozaka, and became the youngest title winner on the women’s tour since 2004 after winning her first singles crown in Linz. She also won two doubles titles with good friend and compatriot Catherine McNally. Before the suspension of the tour, we were treated to another dose of Gauff versus Venus in this year’s Australian Open first round. The teenager came out on top again and went on to avenge her US Open defeat by Osaka in the third round before losing to eventual champion Sofia Kenin in the last 16. Ranked 313th when she entered last year’s Wimbledon, Gauff is now 52nd in the world, and proving she is well and truly more than just an athlete. One can only imagine what she will accomplish in the next 10 years. By Eugene Allen A year ago this week, Coco Gauff ’s life changed radically. Aged 15, the American’s performanc­es at Wimbledon transforme­d her from an exciting talent barely known beyond tennis circles to the status of global phenomenon, thanks in no small part to her victory over Venus Williams in the first round. Twelve months on, Gauff has emerged not only as a player of substance, but also a teenager with the courage to use her platform to speak up. In the wake of the death of George Floyd in the United States, she has taken to Twitter to encourage her followers to sign up to petitions calling for justice in the wake of police brutality and support for the Black Lives Matter movement. She has also featured in powerful videos demanding change. Her last tweet at the time of writing addressed the case of Breonna Taylor, the young black woman shot at home by police, sparking protests over the weekend. “I AM SO HAPPY tennis is coming back!” Gauff wrote. “I am glad to say I will be playing. Now that I have your attention Breonna Taylor still hasn’t received justice for her wrongful death. Click the Breakthrou­gh: Coco Gauff is in disbelief (far left) after beating Venus Williams (above left) link to sign the petition and demand justice for her and her family!” If tennis fans have learnt anything over the past 12 months about Gauff, it is that, with her, the sport is in good hands. On the grass of the All England Club, she was the youngest player to qualify for the main draw in the profession­al era and did not drop a set in her three qualifying matches. She faced Williams, a seven-time grand slam champion, in the middle of school exams. A match that was billed as a clash of the generation­s – Venus was 39 – more than lived up to expectatio­ns. Gauff won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. Her fearlessne­ss, solid groundstro­kes and booming serve captured the imaginatio­n of those lucky to be present on No1 Court, as well as the millions watching on television. In a way, the match felt like a passing of the flame. Venus and Serena Williams, two black sisters from Compton, Los Angeles, shook up a sport that was predominan­tly Wimbledon will be rerunning its greatest matches over the next fortnight. Coco Gauff v Venus Williams will be streamed @Wimbledon on Twitter and on Wimbledon’s YouTube channel from 3pm today. Molly McElwee will also be blogging the match as it happened at telegraph. co.uk/sport from 2.30pm.

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