Martina Navratilova feels this year's US Open might be the moment when Cori Gauff officially takes the torch from the great Serena Williams. This summer on hard courts, Gauff won her maiden WTA 1000 title in Cincinnati and she also won a WTA 500 event in Washington.
The feeling is that 19-year-old Gauff has never looked better coming into a Grand Slam and the American is considered among the top favorites for the US Open title. Gauff, who grew up idolizing the Williams sisters, was labeled as "the new Serena" when she first showed up on the Tour.
In 1999, Williams was 17 when she became a Grand Slam champion at the US Open. 24 years later, Gauff is hoping to do what her idol did nearly two and a half decades ago.
Navratilova feels Gauff is ready to take the torch from Williams
“I think she’s ready to [receive] the torch but also I think she realizes that there’s some big shoes to fill.
So I’m not sure that Coco would be thinking so much on a macro level. American women’s tennis has been in great shape. Let’s not forget Sloane Stephens winning the US Open and Madison Keys being in the final against each other.
But the spotlight will be on Coco, even though there are plenty of American players that are capable of making some big waves, including Sloane, and Madison, and Danielle Collins, as well. So I don’t think she should be thinking about that that much.
Jessica Pegula being the top ranked American, she’s got a good shot. She had a good summer as well. So I think Jessie and Coco will be supporting each other and maybe riding those waves. And Coco will be feeling it more. The passing of the torch is would be symbolically obviously going to Coco from Serena.
She’s gonna be along with [top two seeds Aryna] Sabalenka and Swiatek. For me, she’s the number three favorite to win the tournament. And with her confidence, maybe even slightly better than that, with the crowd behind her, I think it’s gonna be crazy," Navratilova said of Gauff's US Open chances, via i.