Serena Williams has hilarious response to being asked if she'll ever play Coco Gauff

Williams retired before ever playing against Gauff, who idolized her as a little girl.

by Dzevad Mesic
Serena Williams has hilarious response to being asked if she'll ever play Coco Gauff
© Getty Images Sport - Elsa

Serena Williams seemingly found the most hilarious way possible to tell everyone that a match against Coco Gauff may never come as the 42-year-old American jokes she first has to "ask my knees" before making any decisions.

For many years, former 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams was the face of American women's tennis and brought so much success to it. But even after Williams walked away from pro tennis, American women's tennis didn't have to wait for too long for a Grand Slam title after Gauff won the 2023 US Open. 

Gauff, who turned 20 in March, has been pretty open about her admiration for Williams since the day she started her career. While Gauff basically kickstarted her career by beating Venus Williams at 2019 Wimbledon, she never got a chance to play Serena. 

Now that Williams is set to turn 43 in September and has been retired for nearly two full years, it is highly unlikely that she and Gauff will ever meet in an official match. But if they want to make it happen, an exhibition match is always an option.

This week, PEOPLE caught up with Williams and asked her about the chances of playing against Gauff one day. 

"I mean, let me ask my knees?" Williams hilariously responded.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams © Getty Images Sport - Sarah Stier

Over the last two years, there have been many speculations about whether Williams would return to pro tennis. Those talks only increased after Williams admitted in some of her interviews that she was tempted to make a comeback. But the American tennis icon stayed retired and now she is focused on raising her six-year-old daughter Olympia and also baby girl Adira, who was born last August. 

"I have to be the best mom. I have to go to all of Olympia's things at her school," Williams said.

Gauff said not playing Williams was her 'only regret'

Although Williams didn't really play much in her last three seasons on the Tour, there was still a solid number of tournaments when she and Gauff would be sharing the same draw. But unfortunately for Gauff and all tennis fans who wanted that matchup to happen, the 20-year-old American never got a chance to play her idol in a pro tennis match.

And last year, Gauff let everyone know how she really felt about never playing Williams.

"She’s my idol. The only regret I’ll have for the rest of my life is not being able to play her. There were so many tournaments where if we won an extra round and didn’t lose, I would’ve played her. But I’m still happy to just be a product of her legacy and be out here for American tennis," Gauff told ESPN during last year's US Open.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff © Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

During that same US Open, Gauff went on to become a Grand Slam champion as a 19-year-old teenager and join Williams, who was 17 when she won her first Slam at Flushing Meadows in 1999. Moments after lifting the US Open title, Gauff had a special message for the Williams sisters.

“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. You know, there wasn't too many just Black tennis players dominating the sport," Gauff said after her US Open win.

"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."

Gauff on how Williams inspired her to dream big 

At the start of this year's French Open, Gauff highlighted she didn't want to compare herself to Williams but also noted that her idol was inspiring her to try to win as many Slams as possible. 

"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 at the start of this year's French Open.

"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

After this statement, Gauff went on to make the French Open semifinal before losing to Iga Swiatek. Since winning the 2023 US Open, Gauff has had two semifinal outings as she was also a semifinalist at the Australian Open earlier this year.

Serena Williams Coco Gauff