Coco Gauff has huge message for Serena Williams while revealing future goals

After idolizing Williams as a little girl, Gauff went on to become one of the best in the game.

by Dzevad Mesic
Coco Gauff has huge message for Serena Williams while revealing future goals
© Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

Coco Gauff has declared Serena Williams "the true and only GOAT" as the 20-year-old American is determined to follow in the footsteps of her idol and land many more Grand Slam wins before the time comes for her to walk away from pro tennis. 

Gauff, ranked at No. 3 in the world and the current top-ranked American female tennis star, has been pretty open about looking up to Williams as a little girl and dreaming of one day being in her position. 

Now, those dreams are a reality as Gauff is widely regarded as one of the best players in women's tennis, and just like Williams, she was able to achieve big success early in her career. 

Gauff, who landed her first Grand Slam title at last year's US Open, is currently playing at the French Open, where she kicked off her campaign on Monday with a dominant 6-1 6-1 win over Julia Avdeeva. And speaking on Tennis Channel after the match, Gauff - who turned 20 in March - made it clear she came to Paris determined to collect her second Grand Slam title. 

During her astonishing career, Williams finished with 23 Grand Slam titles - just one Slam title short of Margaret Court's all-time record of 24. However, in Gauff's mind, there is no doubt who "the real GOAT" is.

"I think its something I definitely want to trend to. I think for me, I just want to win as many slams as possible and being inspired by Serena Williams. I think she is the one and true and only GOAT. But I think just being inspired by her, it just allowed me to make my dreams as limitless as possible," Gauff said on Tennis Channel.

"And I was taught from a young age to make your dreams as big as possible. Even if they don't feel realistic just because I don't know, I feel like you can box yourself in if you say, I just want to get this, and I just want to get that."

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Gauff on a huge advice received from Mary Joe Fernandez

When Gauff was just starting her career, she got in touch with former three-time Grand Slam finalist Fernandez, who advised her to stop thinking about how many games he wanted on a certain day but to enter every match with the aim of finishing on the winning side and nothing other than that. 

That happened just before Gauff famously upset seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams at the 2019 Wimbledon as a 15-year-old teenager.

Now five years later, Gauff's success speaks for itself and the American acknowledges Fernandez played a little part in that. 

"And If I went in my every match of my career, which is something that Mary Joe Fernandez taught me before I played Venus, she told me, 'You don't go into the match seeing how many games you wanted, you want to win and go into the believing that you can win' and honesty, my mindset before that was to see how many games I could get," Gauff shared.

"And when she told me that, I was like okay, I have to go in to win. And that's what I just ended up taking that little thing and applying it to everything that I do and every tournament that I go in and it's not I just want to make the quarterfinals and make the semifinals. I go in believing that I can win."

How Gauff paid major tribute to the Williams sisters after her US Open win

After coming back from a set down in the 2023 US Open final versus Aryna Sabalenka to achieve her major goal of becoming a Grand Slam champion as a teenager, Gauff instantly remembered the Williams sisters. In her speech, Gauff underlined that the Williams sisters were the reason why she started with tennis in the first place and that the most successful sisters in tennis history made her believe she could also one day be a tennis superstar.

“Yes, it's crazy. I mean, they're the reason why I have this trophy today, to be honest. They have allowed me to believe in this dream, you know, growing up," Gauff said after winning the US Open.

"You know, there wasn't too many just Black tennis players dominating the sport. It was literally, at that time when I was younger, it was just them that I can remember. Obviously, more came because of their legacy. So it made the dream more believable. But all the things that they had to go through, they made it easier for someone like me to do this."

Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka
Coco Gauff and Aryna Sabalenka © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

It will be interesting to see if Gauff can win her second Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, where she finished as runner-up two years ago.

Coco Gauff Serena Williams