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Venus Williams Gets Steamrolled by 15-Year-Old Who Idolizes Her in Stunning Wimbledon Upset

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The lawn tennis courts of Wimbledon are often the source of stunning upsets and wild stories, but 39-year-old Venus Williams losing to a girl young enough to be her daughter in the first round is a stunning upset even by the high standards of its venue.

Fifteen-year-old Cori “Coco” Gauff, who referred to Williams and her sister, Serena, as her “idols” and “the reason I play tennis,” on Monday became the youngest woman to win a first-round singles match at Wimbledon since 1991 when youth and athleticism beat 24 extra years of age and guile 6-4, 6-4.

Before the tournament began, Gauff told BBC Sport, “Many people have been like, ‘Do you like your draw?’ I love my draw. Playing one of the greatest players of all time is a dream. I’m excited to see how I do.”

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Gauff had similar things to say about her situation to NBC as she was playing with house money from the start as a heavy underdog and still-growing teenager against a tennis legend.

“I have nothing to lose, playing against one of the greatest players of all time,” Gauff said. “I’m just super honored that I get to share the court with her. Not many people get to play Wimbledon at 15 so I’m just happy that I’m one of them.”

Williams was gracious in defeat as all the moment needed was a literal torch to make the symbolism any clearer.

One fan pointed out that Gauff played a clean game, especially involving Gauff’s eight unforced errors to Williams’ 25. In tennis, sometimes the best way to win is to, paraphrasing Napoleon Bonaparte, “never interrupt your enemy while she is making a mistake.”

Gauff capitalized on her opportunities. She had three break points and won all three of them, and in a 6-4, 6-4 result, that’s the difference between a straight-sets victory and potentially running out of gas had the match gone to a third set.

The 15-year-old might have been nerves of steel on the court, but after the match, she collapsed into “tears of disbelief and happiness,” as Yahoo Sports put it.

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Oh, and the “youngest since 1991” distinction? That player in 1991 was 15-year-old Jennifer Capriati, who came in ranked ninth in the world and made it all the way to the quarterfinals.

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Hopefully, Gauff can manage her young fame better than Capriati — whose battles with drugs and other issues made for tabloid headlines in the 1990s — was able to.

And in the meantime, Venus Williams can sit in the stands and watch the next iteration of herself battle it out on the courts in London.

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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