Coco Gauff tells little story about her and Emma Navarro ahead of Wimbledon meeting

On Sunday, Gauff will be facing Navarro at Wimbledon - someone she knows very well.

by Dzevad Mesic
Coco Gauff tells little story about her and Emma Navarro ahead of Wimbledon meeting
© Getty Images Sport - Sean M. Haffey

Coco Gauff decided to tell a little story ahead of her upcoming Wimbledon match against Emma Navarro as the 2023 US Open champion reveals she and the current world No. 17 go a long way back since they have known each other from their earliest tennis days.

On Sunday, Gauff, 20, and 23-year-old Navarro will be battling for a place in the Wimbledon quarterfinal. When they meet at The Championships, it will be only their second meeting on the WTA Tour. 

While Gauff and Navarro have clashed against each other just once as pros, they know one another extremely well as their first meeting actually came a long ago when they were juniors competing at the national level. 

After beating Navarro 6-3 6-1 in the Auckland semifinal at the start of this season, Gauff will be looking to do the same at Wimbledon. 

"She's great. I've known her since I was young, basically since I started tennis. We used to play I think we played once in juniors, not even ITF level, I think it was USTA level. So that's like a long time ago. Then I played her this year in Auckland and she's a tough opponent. I always knew just watching her play," Gauff shared.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Gauff shows respect and appreciation for Navarro's game 

Since the start of 2024 and reaching the Auckland semifinal in her first tournament of the year, Navarro has been on the rise and she is having her breakthrough season. After Navarro's promising Auckland run was ended by Gauff, the 23-year-old American continued with her fine form and became a WTA champion the following week in Hobart.

Since then, Navarro also made her first Grand Slam round-of-16 at the French Open and now has also made the second week at Wimbledon for the first time in her career. 

Also, Navarro - who entered Wimbledon enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 17 in the world - is guaranteed to break into the top-15 when the rankings get updated after The Championships. 

Emma Navarro
Emma Navarro © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Addressing Navarro's breakthrough year, top-ranked American female tennis player Gauff says she is not surprised at all.

"A lot of people think her ranking is a surprise but just growing up with her I always knew she was very talented and knew her game would translate well on tour. I think she has a very all-court game and playing her is going to be a tough match. She's had some good wins this tournament so I don't expect it to be easy," Gauff said.

Does Gauff consider Navarro a friend?

After speaking very positively of Navarro, Gauff described their relationship as "very friendly" but noted that they "are not close friends."

"Relationship-wise we're very friendly with each other, I wouldn't say we're like close friends just because we grew up (together) but then we kind of split cuz she went to college," Gauff added.

"We're always very friendly with each other and I'm super excited to be on the same Olympic team with her. She's a very very nice person, her family is nice. So I'm very excited to be able to play against her and then play on the same team as her and in the Olympics."

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff © Getty Images Sport - Sean M. Haffey

Meanwhile, Navarro made one warm gesture following her 2-6 6-3 6-4 win over Diana Shnaider on Friday as she stopped the Russian at the net to give her a hug and some kind words. The same happened when Navarro lost to Shnaider in the Bad Homburg semifinal just seven days earlier.

Later in her Wimbledon press conference, the 23-year-old American said she is the kind of person who wants to be good with other players despite them being rivals on the court. 

"I like to have a good relationship [with my opponent]. When I have a good relationship with my opponent, I think it just creates a really cool atmosphere where, obviously, we want to beat each other, but we're out there fighting for the same thing and doing what we love, and it's positive," Navarro said after the match.

"We're putting just positive energy out into the world instead of negative energy. I think tennis in its more original form is a game of good sportsmanship and of camaraderie. One of the things I love about sport is that it brings a lot of different people together."

After the Gauff and Navarro match finishes, one of the two Americans will their first Wimbledon quarterfinal. Heading into the match, Gauff has the edge considering that she is a Slam champion and the second-ranked player in the world. 

But one thing is for sure - Gauff won't take Navarro for granted. 

Coco Gauff Emma Navarro Wimbledon