Cori “Coco” Gauff, the 15-year-old American who is taking the 2019 Wimbledon Championships by storm, will be a millionaire before the end of the year.
Gauff has long been one of her sport’s worst-kept secrets.
Three years ago, her father Corey Gauff told ESPN that Coco took to tennis when she was six years old because “she liked the skirts.”
Over the years she began to appreciate the technical aspect of the sport, too, as her long and lean figure meant that, as her dad put it, she had a “weird wingspan.” She was, perhaps, always destined to have a strong service game as a result.
At eight years old she met her idol Serena Williams for the first time at a tournament in New York. Gauff got the veteran American player to autograph a tennis ball.
“She’s always been my favorite player,” Gauff once said, according to ESPN. Apparently, Williams told her to “keep on doing what you’re doing.”
By the age of 12, she said she wanted emulate Williams and become “the greatest of all time.”
The next year she became the youngest ever player to reach the US Open girl’s final, and the year after she won her first title at the French Open.
She remains the youngest junior world girl’s number one ever, and is now the youngest woman to ever qualify for the main draw in a Grand Slam tournament.
What’s more, she’s doing it all in style.
Gauff shook up the world by showing drop shot prowess against Venus Williams in the first round of Wimbledon on Monday, broke the former five-time Wimbledon champion’s serve, and mastered rallies to take critical points from the more experienced competitor. In the end, she won 6-4, 6-4.
Two days later Gauff showed the Williams win was no fluke by winning in straight sets once again on Wednesday, this time beating Magdalena Rybarikova 6-3, 6-3.
Gauff has already won $139,000 in Wimbledon prize money but would make far, far more should she maintain this run and knock Polona Hercog out from the competition in the third round on Friday.
This, on top of the $75,011 in career earnings she had pocketed before setting food on the All England Club courts, means she has earned almost $215,000 (and counting) from tennis before her 16th birthday.
But according to Forbes, this is mere pocket change, as the teenager will be a millionaire within the next few months.
Gauff has deals with three key sponsors — New Balance, the pasta-maker Barilla, and the racket manufacturer Head.
Gauff was already on course to “earn at least $1 million in 2019,” Forbes reported in March — and the value of these deals are layered to performance, so she could earn even more.