Competing in only the third main draw on the ITF junior level, the 13-year-old Cori Gauff reached the final at the US Open in 2017, beating five rivals in straight sets before suffering a 6-0, 6-2 loss to Amanda Anisimova.
As it turned out, it was only the beginning of this super talented young girl that lives and works in Florida, conquering junior Roland Garros in 2018 and ending her junior career with the title at Orange Bowl, four months before turning 15!
Born in 2004, Gauff has been one of the biggest talents in our sport in the last couple of years, already signing the professional contract and gathering the experience on the professional level. Back in February, Gauff was the finalist of the W25 Surprise event in Arizona before scoring the first win on the main level in Miami against another upcoming star and her junior rival Caty McNally.
The best was yet to come at Wimbledon, though, receiving the last-minute wild card for the qualifying draw and passing three rounds to become the youngest qualifier at Wimbledon in the Open era at 15 years and three months.
Showing incredible skills, determination and winning mentality at such a young age, Cori took down Venus Williams, Magdalena Rybarikova and Polona Hercog to reach the second week as the youngest player since Jennifer Capriati in 1991, earning a massive amount of points and receiving the attention of the entire tennis world.
That memorable run at the All England Club had pushed Gauff inside the top-150 and the next logical step for her is to receive the main draw wild card for the home Major at the US Open. The problem is, the organizers in New York will have to come up with the solution to avoid the WTA’s age-eligibility rules for the players who are yet to turn 16.
Namely, Gauff has already received three wild cards in Miami, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, reaching her age group set by the WTA and forcing the US Open organizers to find another way to get her into the main draw without having to play in the qualifying draw.
They will probably go with the exempt rule and there is the possibility to go with the regular wild card, with the WTA not wanting to intervene on the invitations issues. Under the rules, Cori is allowed to play ten tournaments between the 15th and the 16th birthday and that number has already been increased to 12 due to her great junior results.
Cori Gauff might enter the Washington draw as a qualifier and is yet to decide on the US Open plans, targeting that main draw appearance or the qualifying one, just like in Paris and London. A year ago, Cori lost in the first qualifying round to Heather Watson.