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Steffi Graf Tips Coco Gauff For Tennis Stardom
Steffi Graf in action during last year's Zhuhai WTA Elite Trophy 2017, where she has been an ... [+]GETTY IMAGES
Former world No. 1 Steffi Graf believes Cori ‘’Coco’ Gauff is well on the way to stardom.
The 15-year-old American enjoyed a stunning 2019, qualifying and reaching the last 16 at Wimbledon and the third round of the U.S. Open.
Earlier this month, Gauff became the youngest woman in 15 years to clinch a WTA Tour event when she won the title in Linz, Austria. She is set to finish the year ranked 68th, having begun it as the world No. 685.
“It's going to be incredible to follow her the next few years,” Graf, a 22-time major singles winner from Germany, told reporters at the WTA Zhuhai Elite Trophy in Zhuhai, China on Tuesday. “She's got such an effortless style and such raw talent. So I don't think she will need, she needs anything, any advice, the way I'm thinking.”
Graf was a teenage prodigy herself, who turned pro at the age of 12 in what was then West Germany. Five years later, she won her first grand slam singles title at the 1987 French Open. Graf, nicknamed “Fraulein Forehand,” for her blistering forehand, was so utterly dominant, she swept all four majors and the Olympic gold singles medal in 1988. In 1999, Graf quit the game at the age of 30 after winning that year’s Roland-Garros and reaching the Wimbledon finals.
But unlike Graf, Gauff won’t be able to play a full schedule until she turns 18 in March 2022. That’s because of the age eligibility rule that was introduced in the mid-1990s by the women’s WTA Tour to protect the health of young players and prevent early-career burnout.
“I have not met her,” said Graf. “But I did see her play here and there a little bit at some of the televised matches. So it doesn't seem like she needs a whole lot of advice (laughing) I mean she's, I mean just watching she seems to — talk about somebody that's enjoying herself out there, you can see her intensity and incredible athleticism.”
I duly hope that Cori doesn't get "crushed" by this celebrity attention at her age, morphing into "expectations" that she can't meet if her career doesn't pan out due to such. She has a nice, solid foundation to be an asset to the Tour provided that her career evolution is handled right. Per video, as she tells Kyrie even she is startled by this having only played juniors the year ere......