Coco Gauff on Serena Williams: “The reason why I play tennis”

Coco Gauff was asked about Serena Williams’ impending retirement after the teenager won her first-round match in Toronto on Tuesday. Gauff had high praise for Serena and the Williams family as a whole.

Coco_Gauff_Australian Open_2021 Coco_Gauff_Australian Open_2021

Serena Williams is the talk of the tennis world — and will be through the US Open — after she announced her upcoming retirement from tennis on Tuesday morning in Toronto. The 40-year-old wrote an essay in Vogue that did not directly confirm her retirement plans but strongly suggested that her career will come to an end at this season’s final Grand Slam.

Williams’ departure will surely be the hot topic in press rooms at this week’s 1000-point tournaments in Toronto (WTA) and Montreal (ATP), and for the remainder of the hard-court summer. Unsurprisingly, the subject was the first question posed to Coco Gauff following the 18-year-old’s 6-1, 6-3 victory over Madison Brengle in round one of the National Bank Open.

The legacy that she’s left through her tennis career is something that I don’t think any other player can probably touch.

Coco Gauff

“I knew it was coming eventually,” Gauff commented. “I didn’t know if it was going to be this US Open or the next one. (It’s) not really shocking, but almost shocking news because she’s just been playing forever — my whole life. (I’m) a little bit sad because I have always wanted to play her. So I’m hoping that my draw in Cincinnati or (the) US Open or even here can work out so we can play each other. Because that’s just one of my goals.”

The American was also vocal about her desire to play against either Serena or Venus Williams after she broken onto the scene by qualifying for Wimbledon as a 15-year-old in 2019. Gauff spoke it into existence, as she promptly got matched up with Venus is the opening round — a showdown the teenager would end up winning.

Now only Serena remains on Gauff’s bucket list.

“The legacy that she’s left through her tennis career is something that I don’t think any other player can probably touch,” Gauff added. “I think that the legacy that she will continue to leave throughout her life is something that can inspire many more generations.”

Gauff credits Williams sisters as the reason why she plays

The Williams sisters certainly inspired Gauff. In fact, they are the reason she plays professional tennis.

“I grew up watching her,” the world No 11 said of Serena. “I mean, that’s the reason why I play tennis. Tennis being a predominantly white sport, [the Williams sisters’ presence] definitely helped a lot because I saw somebody who looked like me dominating the game. It made me believe that I could dominate, too.

“I think her whole story — the Williams sisters’ story, not just Serena, with Mr. Williams and all that he’s done for both of them — inspired my dad to continue to coach me and help me even though he had not really much tennis experience. But he was like, ‘If Mr. Williams can do it, then I can.’

“I think it’s not so much just what Serena and Venus have left; it’s also the whole Williams family in general.”

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