Teenage sensation Coco Gauff has had her first taste of defeat at Wimbledon today after losing in the mixed doubles – but is still celebrating after being congratulated by Michelle Obama for her stunning Centre Court comeback yesterday.
The 15-year-old was in action alongside Briton Jay Clarke, 20, in the mixed doubles on Court Two this afternoon. But both players struggled to gain traction losing the game by two sets (6-1, 6-4).
The Briton had dumped his British doubles partner Harriet Jay in order to partner up with the rising tennis star for the mixed doubles. But it seems the pairing was not meant to be.
But Gauff’s fairytale tournament is not over as she takes on former world number one Simona Halep in the fourth round of the women’s singles on Monday. And is ecstatic at having recently received congratulations from Michelle Obama.
The youngster, from Atlanta in the US, has been living a fairytale at Wimbledon after beating seven-time Grand Slam singles winner and her idol Venus Williams, 39, in the first round and Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova in the second.
Keeping the dream alive yesterday she won a two-hour and 45-minute third round match against Slovenian Polona Hercog on the centre court.
Riding a wave of euphoria, Coco posted about her surprise, saying it was ‘crazy’ to be tweeted about by the former first lady.
American rapper Jaden Smith, actor and film producer Samuel L. Jackson, who was involved with Jurassic Park, and Beyonce’s mother have also sent messages of support.
She also sent a message of thanks to South Florida after she was sent an image of street art that depicted her at Wimbledon.
Earlier this week Coco went wild after seeing that a video of her mother celebrating her tennis success had gone viral, and said ‘please tell me that she’s a meme’.
Since her fairytale rise began her Instagram and Twitter accounts ballooned, amassing as many as 265,000 followers on the former and 83,900 followers on the latter.
Blazing her own trail of success she beat seven-time Grand Slam singles winner and her idol Venus Williams, 39, in the first round and Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova in the second.
And yesterday she kept the dream alive after winning a mammoth two-hour and 45-minute third round match against Slovenian Polona Hercog in centre court.
However, three days ago she left British player Dart frustrated after asking the 22-year-old’s doubles partner Clarke to couple up, almost Love Island-style, with her instead.
Explaining his decision to join the American schoolgirl Clarke, who is Britain’s second highest ranked doubles player, said he had known Cori ‘for a number of years’ before she ‘got in contact and asked me to play’.
‘That was tough. I had to let her know because I saw the pairs that had signed in, and I was like ‘am I even going to get in?”
He also said he felt ‘100 per cent’ sorry for his former partner and that it was ‘the worst decision I have had to make especially mid tournament’.
‘I didn’t sleep too well the night before I played Noah (in the first round) but hopefully she understands why I did it.
‘Those things are never easy. I have been pushed out of cuts this year six times at 11.59 when people chop and change partners just to get in the draw. It’s the first time I’ve had to do it and I’m sorry for her it happened.’
Trying to rise above her frustration, the 22-year-old tennis player who was let down said she was left in no doubt about her feelings.
‘Essentially due to the timing I wasn’t able to find another partner in the time period available.
‘I did ask a number of people but a lot of them were set up and that’s it. I think you should ask Jay about his reasons, that’s all I want to say.’
After her victory yesterday Coco said she’d buy more hoodies that she ‘loves’ as she can’t drive yet.
‘My mom, she banned me from buying hoodies for two months’, said the excitable teenager, ‘every week I was getting new hoodies sent to the house.’
Asked further about her parents, she said: ‘They have the biggest input, especially my mom. She definitely changed my mindset in how I look on things.
‘My dad, he’s the reason why I dream so big. I think the kind of believing part of my dad and the more stay focused, stay calm of my mom is like a good mix.’
Both were watching on yesterday, as they have done in all of her other matches at Wimbledon, and were seen hugging one another as their daughter celebrated victory.
Their daughters victory was also watched by Spice Girl Geri Horner, who took to social media to celebrate the victory.
‘Coco is girl power’, she applauded, ‘an inspiration to young girls to follow your dreams and work hard. What a privilege to watch and meet you.’
At her father’s bar in Delray Beach, Florida crowds went wild as they watched Gauff progress to the fourth round.
The youngster has been the talk of the tournament after becoming the youngest ever qualifier at Wimbledon.
As a child she moved Delray Beach in Florida for its elite tennis facilities previously used by both Venus and Serena Williams.
Her father has had a huge impact on her life, travelling the world with her as her coach and inspiring her to use her developing ‘voice’ for change.
While her mother gave up teaching to home school her daughter to allow her to concentrate on the sport.
All the hard work is beginning to pay off, with the teenager expected to rake in around £800,000 ($1million) in 2019 through prize money and sponsorship deals.
But Gauff is trying to stay grounded and said she is a ‘goofy’ girl off-court who likes to make jokes and still laughs when people ask to take pictures of her.
Her game going into three sets now means Andy Murray and Serena Williams will have to wait to make their Wimbledon mixed doubles debut.
The multiple grand slam champions were due to begin their partnership against Andreas Mies and Alexa Guarachi on Centre Court.
But with Cori Gauff and Polona Hercog going into three sets in the final scheduled match on there, and Williams in early action in the singles on Saturday, tournament organisers announced they would not play.
That means both players will have a fixture pile-up as Murray is involved in men’s doubles while Williams opens the Court One action against Julia Goerges.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Luke Andrews