15-year-old Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff stunned the tennis world with her Wimbledon run that began with her victory over one of her tennis idols, Venus Williams. Since then she has received the praise A-list of celebs, including Beyonce’s mom Tina Lawson, Jaden Smith and Michelle Obama.
Gauff’s historic Wimbledon concluded on “Manic Monday,” and she’s just as surprised as everyone that she has become a star of the All England Club and an overnight sensation.
“This has all happened as a surprise,” Gauff said on “Good Morning America.” “I came into the tournament as a wild card into qualifying, and then to end up playing the No. 1 seed in qualifying, and then once I got through qualifying, playing my idol first round, this tournament has really been a roller coaster.”
She became the youngest player to ever qualify for Wimbledon and defeated 39-year-old Venus in the first round. After beating Williams, Coco beat Magdaléna Rybáriková to reach the third round, where she faced Polona Hercog of Slovenia.
Because of her age, Gauff is only allowed to play a limited number of pro tournaments. In the meantime, her team is fielding calls from brands anxious to partner with the tennis sensation.
Currently backed by New Balance, Head and pasta maker Barilla, phones have been “ringing off the hook” at her management company Team 8, per msn.com. But her agent Tony Godsick says they won’t be rushing into deals.
“A lot of the sponsor inquiries are from companies that want to be part of this quick success and we are only looking for long-term partners,” Godsick, who founded Team 8 with longtime client Roger Federer, told CNN.
“Once the event is over we will sort through the opportunities and come up with a strategic plan that makes sense for where she is in her development.
“There definitely will be an emphasis on quality as opposed to quantity.”
“Even if the restrictions weren’t there, I still think I wouldn’t play as much as the older players do, just because I’m still trying to develop my game and I’m still trying to train,” Gauff said. “I feel like I would obviously play more than the rules state, but I think I wouldn’t try to overdo it because I’m still 15.”
Gauff was ranked No. 313 in the world going into Wimbledon. Her ranking is now expected to move inside the top 150.
“I think the most I’m going to remember is the crowd here,” Cori said of her Wimbledon run. “Ever since the first match they’ve been supporting me, even when I was down those match points they were supporting me, and even after I lost my match they were clapping for me.”