|Wimbledon 2019 on the BBC|
|Venue: All England Club Dates: 1-14 July|
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Coco Gauff is hopeful she might get an invitation to a Beyonce concert as the 15-year-old’s remarkable story at Wimbledon continued with a third-round victory over Polona Hercog.
The American, who received a wildcard for qualifying, has become the star attraction of these championships following her stunning opening round win over five-time champion Venus Williams, then a second-round win over Magdalena Rybarikova.
Slovenian world number 60 Hercog gave the teenager her stiffest test, as Gauff lost her first set and faced two match points.
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However, she survived and eventually secured a 3-6 7-6 (9-7) 7-5, a minimum pay day of £176,000 and a fourth-round match against former number one Simona Halep.
In the post-match news conference, Gauff was as excited about meeting one of her music idols as the progress she had made.
She said: “Ms Tina Knowles, Beyonce’s mum, posted me on Instagram and I was screaming! I hope Beyonce saw that, I hope she told Beyonce about me because I would love to go to her concert.”
And regarding the prize money, she added: “I can’t buy a car because I can’t drive. I hate spending money.
I didn’t tell Mum, but she’s going to go viral. She’s going to be a meme and I’m going to retweet it
“I love wearing hoodies, my mum actually banned me from buying them for two months as I kept getting them delivered to the house.”
Her parents, father Corey and mother Candi, were present to watch their daughter wow the Wimbledon crowd once again .
Gauff explained the influence both have had on her career.
“My mum changed my mindset on how I look at things and my dad is the reason I dream so big,” she continued. “It’s a good mix. They definitely work together well to tell me the right things.
“My mum doesn’t like to play the coach role as my dad is my coach, so she plays the mother role.”
“I look at my dad mostly. I didn’t tell mum, but she’s going to go viral. She’s going to be a meme and I’m going to retweet it.”
Gauff’s epic contest forced the postponement of the mixed doubles match involving Andy Murray and Serena Williams.
‘Gauff will transcend the game’
Nine-time champion Martina Navratilova believes a “star has been born”.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone arrive in a greater flash at their first major,” she told BBC Sport.
“I have a feeling Coco Gauff will transcend the game. She wants it, she lives it already. She was born to do this.”
|Tennis’ teenage wonderkids|
|Martina Hingis was 16 when she won the 1997 Wimbledon singles title after winning the Australian Open earlier that year. She won the mixed doubles (which Gauff has entered with Britain’s Jay Clarke) aged 15.|
|Boris Becker won Wimbledon at the age of 17 in 1985, beating Kevin Curran to become the youngest ever Grand Slam champion at the time.|
|Maria Sharapova won the 2004 edition of Wimbledon aged 17, beating the legend that is Serena Williams.|
|Nick Kyrgios became the first Wimbledon debutant to reach the quarter-finals in 10 years when he upset Rafael Nadal in the fourth round in 2014.|
Navratilova, who won her first Wimbledon title aged 21, does think Gauff’s next match against former world number one Halep will be a “a mountain too tall to climb”.
“Against Halep it will be tricky – the pressure is all on her as a big favourite, but the crowd will be going nuts for Gauff which will be hard for the Romanian to handle.”
John McEnroe, the three-time men’s singles winner, also believes Halep will edge it but added that the world number seven’s game might suit her compatriot.
“Halep has not had a great year and looks tight on this surface,” he told BBC’s Today at Wimbledon. “I would obviously pick the Romanian to win but I’m not going to bet a whole lot on that one.
“I think Halep will be easier because she hits a solid ball. This was an awkward opponent today.”
He added: “It’s better that Coco Gauff doesn’t win it this year, for her sake, long-term. We want her to be out there for 15-20 years.”
As for Gauff, she said she was taking it “one tournament at a time”.
“I watch Halep a lot – I’ve never hit with her so I don’t know how the ball will feel when I play but I’m familiar with how she plays from watching her,” said the student, who is being nurtured by Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
“I don’t believe in fate or destiny because I think you can change your own world. Fate can’t always be a good thing, so I try not to think of it being my destiny. If I do, my head is going to get big. I just take it one tournament at a time.”
Who is Coco Gauff?
Gauff at 15 years and 122 days became the youngest player to qualify for the main Wimbledon draw since the Open era began in 1968.
She started playing tennis at the age of seven and comes from a sporting family having initially been coached by her father Corey, who played basketball at Georgia State University. Her mother Candi was a gymnast before moving into track and field.
Their daughter began to deliver in major arenas two years ago when she became the youngest US Open girls singles finalist, aged just 13. And last year she won the French Open equivalent only two months after her 14th birthday.
Wimbledon qualifying was a target for Gauff this year, but her ranking of 301 was not high enough to earn a shot. However, while she was shopping online, she found out she had received a wildcard.
More reaction to Gauff’s successes
Social media reaction #bbctennis
Richard Arians: Coco Gauff – controlled patience. A quality mastered by veterans. She’s 15!!!
David Symonds: Never have I been so excited to see an American win something!
Di Johnson: What a match, Coco definitely a name to watch.
Che Seabourne: Well this is turning into quite the story for Coco Gauff! A word too for Polona Hercog – who conducted herself with a lot of composure in the face of a partisan crowd. Hugely entertaining match!
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