It was early morning at their family home in Atlanta, but his young daughter was captivated by the match on the screen. Williams ultimately won in convincing fashion, 6-0, 6-3, to claim her 10th Grand Slam title. “She’s the GOAT,” Corey remembers saying in awe.
His daughter, then 4, didn’t know what “GOAT” meant, but once he explained it stood for “Greatest of All Time,” her eyes got wide, and she said defiantly: “I want to be the GOAT.”
Corey told her she could be one day if she worked hard enough — not knowing if she would ever love tennis or anything enough to actually achieve that dream, but wanting to make sure she knew she could do anything she set her mind to. He kept telling her that as she got older.
Fast-forward 10 years and that same young girl is already leading some to wonder whether her bold declaration might actually come true
Last Monday, Cori “Coco” Gauff, now 15, crouched to her knees, put her hands to her head and then stood up triumphantly, choking back tears. She had just defeated her longtime hero, Venus Williams, in straight sets — at Wimbledon, of all places — in her first main draw appearance at a Grand Slam, and it seemed she had just realized the weight of the moment.
A moment she had been working toward since she first picked up a tennis racket.
After shaking Venus’ hand — and thanking Venus for everything she has done for the sport — the young phenom couldn’t help it. She cried with happiness. Coco Gauff had officially arrived on the world stage.
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