Outcry grows over Gauff age restriction
Roger Federer has urged the Women’s Tennis Association to relax its age eligibility rules to accommodate the staggering progress of 15-year-old American Cori Gauff.
The WTA limits the number of tournaments youngsters can play as protection against burnout. The restrictions were introduced in 1994 after the travails of prodigies such as Jennifer Capriati, who barely played in her late teens, having turned professional at 13.
Gauff ’s poise and staggering shot-making in taking out Venus Williams and Magdalena Rybarikova this week, however, have prompted Federer to state that the rules should be relaxed.
“I understand completely that they want the young players not to play too much,” he said, after his straight-sets win over Britain’s Jay Clarke. “I’ve told the WTA they should loosen up the rules.
“I loved seeing [Martina] Hingis doing what she did at a young age. I think it would be nice if they could play more.”
Gauff’s fellow American Sloane Stephens added, after thrashing Wang Yafan, that her compatriot staying happy was the priority.
World No1 Ashleigh Barty, who took a two-year break from tennis due to mental fatigue, said of Gauff: “She’s incredible, she really is.”
Gauff plays Slovenia’s Polona Hercog on Centre Court today.
Progress: Cori Gauff has already won through two rounds this week at the age of 15