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      Contributor: Gabrielle Groce

      July 17, 2019

      By two

      • The feelings of success, the love of the game, the passion, and the explosion of validation erupted all at once. This 15-year-old girl had it all in a matter of seconds after winning just two sets, by two. An inspiration, not only now, but one to remember moving forward. Tennis now has a new name.Cori Gauff.
        Being ranking 313th and graciously given a wild card into the tournament, Cori was enthused. There was nothing sweeter than the taste of Wimbledon. For Cori, a win would be sweet, but who she would have to beat to obtain it would be the sweetest. Defying the odds of beating the seven-time Grand Slam singles champ, Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon, Cori took in the surreal moment of facing her idol and coming out on top.

        Of course, her story does not start by going out and beating the best. Cori found her passion from the young age of 7 while being coached by her dad. All the struggles may have let her prepare for this battle, but nothing would have prepared her for the emotions that would follow.

        As she trained day after day, her dad, Corey, saw a spark in his daughter. He told her she could win, that she was capable of anything – all at the age of 8. After hearing this praise, she had the self-awareness to keep her head on straight – focused on the next match and ultimately, one day, facing the best in hopes to become the best. 

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        Years later at the age of 13, Cori would become the world’s youngest United States Open junior finalist, then follow it up by becoming the second youngest French Open girls champion at the age of 14. 
        As she continued to pile on win after win, Cori aspired to play in the same tennis tournaments she watched on TV as a little girl - dreaming that one day it would be her on the famed grass courts of Wimbledon.  In less than an hour and 19 minutes, every missed serve, every missed shot, and every loss no longer mattered. Cori had challenged her idol, and yet inadvertently became an idol of her own to so many. Cori had accomplished what so many others can only dream of... and it came down to winning just two sets, by two. 
        Down to the round of 16, Cori fought with immense passion. She never felt as though she was not purposefully in the right place. Fighting her way to the top, for her name. Gracious the whole time. In her debut, she battled stars from Venus to Simona Halep and Polona Hercog. Ending on Manic Monday, Gauff has been able to take the warm welcome into her position as a true phenomenon and idol in tennis in her move from juniors to the big leagues. 

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