Out­cry grows over Gauff age restrictio­n

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Wimbledon - By Char­lie Ec­cle­share at Wim­ble­don

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

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