American schoolgirl Coco Gauff has told fans she plans to spend her prize money on hoodies after winning at least £176,000 in an epic three-set fightback at Wimbledon yesterday.
The 15-year-old, from Atlanta in the US, kept her fairytale tournament alive with a mammoth two hour and 45 minute third round match against Slovenian Polona Hercog on Centre Court.
Her remarkable rise to fame has already seen her beat seven-time Grand Slam singles winner Venus Williams, 39, in the first round and Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova in the second.
Speaking after her third round victory today, the youngster said she was going to ‘buy some more hoodies’ with the prize money saying she couldn’t by a car as she can’t drive.
‘I love wearing them,’ she said. ‘My mom, she banned me from buying hoodies for two months. Every week I was getting new hoodies sent to the house.’
Gauff also appeared equally excited about a posting about her by Beyonce’s mother, a new album by Jaden Smith and a video of her mother’s celebration in the players’ box on Tuesday going viral.
She said: ‘Please tell me she’s a meme. I’m so excited to go on Instagram. I’m going to retweet it and everything.’
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 her parents were watching on today, as they have done in all of her other matches at Wimbledon, and were seen hugging one another as their daughter celebrated victory.
Gauff stunned spectators as she bravely battled back against 28-year-old powerhouse Hercog after going down in the first set.
She launched a sensational comeback overcoming a mammoth 70 minute second set to eventually secure victory in the third, sending spectators wild.
Speaking after the match, she said she ‘always knew she could come back’, adding: ‘The crowd was amazing, even when I was down a match point they kept cheering me on.’
But she won’t face an easy ride in the fourth round, as she is set to face former world number one Simona Halep on Monday and is also playing in the mixed doubles tomorrow.
For now, however, the youngster is celebrating her remarkable victory which will be remembered alongside the likes of Boris Becker’s and Martina Hingis’.
Her parents were visibly ecstatic at their daughter’s victory, and Spice Girl Geri Horner was among the celebrities watching the remarkable match unfold.
Taking to Instagram after the game, Horner said: ‘Coco is girl power. 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. In video taken from inside the bar, spectators can be seen cheering and leaping for joy.
The youngster has been the talk of the tournament since she beat her idol Venus Williams, 39, in the first round. And is the youngest ever qualifier at Wimbledon.
A heaving Murray Mound cheered the young tennis sensation to victory. TV stars sitting in the Royal Box on Centre Court hailed the tennis prodigy from Florida who has taken the tournament by storm.
Writer and actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge labelled Gauff a ‘dreamboat’, while former England cricket captain Alastair Cook described her as ‘extraordinary’.
Joining them in the Royal Box were ex-Tory leader Lord William Hague, British Olympic rowing champion Dame Katherine Grainger and retired Irish rugby player Brian O’Driscoll.
Fans watching Gauff’s momentous win said the teenager was helping bring inspiration to younger generations.
Marion Glasheen, 55, from Woodford in Ireland said: ‘She’s the new Venus, the new Serena and she’s so inspiring. At 15 years old she’s a role model for all kids. Look at Henman Hill, when has it ever been like this since Andy Murray?’
Sarah Farlow, 45, from Thatcham, Berkshire, said: ‘She’s the same age as my daughter, it’s just amazing. I can’t imagine what her parents are going through but they must be so proud.’
Grace Warrington, 27, from Clapham, London, said: ‘If I were a kid watching her on TV I would probably want to play tennis.’
This was Gauff’s Centre Court debut, but the crowd soon took her to their hearts, even before her impressive comeback. But they faced a tense first couple of sets, as Gauff struggled to gain traction.
At one point it looked like it was all over as she faced not one, but two match points. Hercog’s first match point came and went on Gauff’s serve at 3-5, with a second arriving a game later when she was serving for the match.
She showed her strong fighting spirit however, as she fought to win an epic 70 minute second set which took both players to a tiebreak. She broke Hercog’s serve when she had no other option and then finally battered down the obdurate defence of her opponent’s backhand slice to take a thrilling tie-break 9/7.
A third set was the last thing the 28-year-old needed as she had a medical timeout and it looked like the youth of Gauff would carry her through as she raced into a 4-1 lead.
Hercog, continuing to draw errors with her backhand slice, fought her way back to 4-4, but, as she applied ice to her legs at the change of ends, the longer it went on the more likely Gauff was to win and that is how it turned out.
She forced Hercog into several errors at 6-5 and won with her first match point as the Slovenian sent a forehand long, sparking some of the most memorable Centre Court scenes in recent times.
There were huge cheers from the crowds on Centre Court, which included both her parents and Spice Girl Horner, as she took the third set 7-5.
Despite the lengthy game, the youngster is back in action again tomorrow as she participates in the mixed doubles. Her fourth round match is not until Monday.
Her ecstatic parents leapt for joy as their daughter progressed into the fourth round of the competition after an emotional roller-coaster of a match.
The youngster’s mother was seen crying after Gauff went down in the first set, but by the end she appeared overjoyed as she celebrated her daughter’s win.
They and millions of others watching will now get the see the youngster’s fairytale tournament continue, with her now expected to play former world No. 1 Simona Halep in the fourth round on Monday.
Gauff has captured the hearts of spectators with her unexpected rise through the competition, beating both Serena Williams and Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova.
Speaking after her win against Venus on Monday, the schoolgirl said her friends and family were ecstatic – including her coach and father Corey.
The youngster took up tennis aged seven and became the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon history at just 15.
Speaking of her second round victory against Rybarikova she said: ‘Over the last few days there’s been so much going on, I’m still shocked I’m still even here.’
As a child she moved Delray Beach in Florida for its elite tennis facilities previously used by both Venus and Serena Williams, whom Coco grew up idolising.
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, James Wood