Just over a year ago, the 14-year-old Cori Gauff cracked the top-500 for the first time after reaching the first pro final two weeks earlier. The super talented American needed only 12 months to become the youngest player in the top-50 since 2005, embracing an incredible run during this period and entering the record books.
Despite only turning 16 on March 13, Cori has already shown her potential on the most significant tennis scene years before her coevals, taking big steps towards on her quest to become the greatest player in history! Despite a reduced schedule, this incredible youngster who works in Florida had already won her first WTA title and reached the second week at Majors twice, battling against more experienced and better-ranked rivals with no sign of fear.
Cori had to pick three WTA events at the beginning of the new season before her birthday, choosing to play at the ASB Classis, the Australian Open and Indian Wells as her first stops before getting a chance to enter more tournaments in the following months after the 16th birthday.
Making a debut in Melbourne at the age when her coevals play the junior event, Cori toppled Venus Williams and the defending champion Naomi Osaka to reach the last 16, taking the opening set against an eventual champion Sofia Kenin before falling down to end her campaign.
Due to a coronavirus, the American is yet to play a match after Melbourne, with a pandemic canceling all the events at least until June. Cori has been one of the young guns to watch ever since the US Open 2017 when she reached the junior final at the age of 13, becoming junior no.
1 and Roland Garros champion at 14 next spring, also securing the first professional victories. Targeting the place in the top-100 at the end of 2019, Cori left junior tennis behind after conquering the Orange Bowl in December 2018, focusing on the professional tournaments and making remarkable progress in passing some 600 rivals on the WTA list!
Gauff advanced into the first professional final last February, still before turning 15, scoring the first WTA win on the big scene in Miami and receiving a wild card for the qualifying draw at Wimbledon. Taking the opportunity with both hands, Cori passed three obstacles to find herself in the main draw as the youngest qualifier ever at the All England Club, toppling the multiple champion Venus Williams in the first round and adding two more triumphs to become the youngest player in the fourth round at Wimbledon since Jennifer Capriati almost 30 years ago!
Moving closer to her goal, Gauff won two encounters at the US Open and claimed the first WTA title in Luxembourg as the last-minute lucky loser, becoming the youngest WTA champion since 2004 and cracking the top-70 by the end of the season.
Like all the other players, Gauff can only train at the moment, hoping to get back on the court as soon as possible in what promises to be a busy summer of tennis if everything goes well with the virus, especially in September when we can experience both the US Open and Roland Garros, something that never happened before.
Unable to host the event in May and June, Roland Garros organizers made a bold move and scheduled it for September 20, just seven days after the end of the US Open. Cori believes the situation is not ideal but also that it's better to have both Majors rather than one, ready to play both at home in New York and in Paris soon after that.
"I'd rather play back-to-back Slams than no Slams at all. That's kind of gonna be the answer for everyone. It's not ideal, but we can't do much about that."