LONDON, UK - Cori 'Coco' Gauff has been showing remarkable poise on and off the Wimbledon grass, with an almost-nerveless performance against Venus Williams that was "pretty incredible", according to fellow American Chanda Rubin.
In an interview with wtatennis.com, Rubin spoke of her admiration for the way that Gauff, just 15 years old and the youngest qualifier in the post-1968 Open Era, handled the experience of playing her idol Venus in the opening round. "Coco's got some different skills, but to do it under pressure, in this sort of situation, against a champion like Venus, and to not show very many nerves, that was pretty incredible," Rubin, a former top 10 player, said of the teenage debutante.
"At each stage, she was working her way through the challenges that Venus presented. Her poise, that was impressive. Over the last year, I've called and watched a number of her matches, and I've seen her growth, seen her development. It's been fun to watch," said Rubin.
In Rubin's view, Gauff has a clarity of thought that is very rare in a player so young, with the qualifier openly saying that her goal this fortnight is to win the title. "In her post-match interviews, she's so poised the way she talks about the game. She's very calm. What you see is what you get," Rubin said. "It's rare to get that insight from a young player. She's clear about what her goals are and what she believes she can accomplish."
Rubin, who has spent some time talking to Gauff's father and coach Corey, said that the family are helping the teenager to stay grounded. "I've had a few conversations with her dad. I think that calmness comes from her family," the 1996 Australian Open semifinalist said of Gauff, who plays Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova in the second round on Wednesday.
"She has a great support system. Her parents are very involved still - her dad in particular, who still handles and oversees her coaching. He's very methodical about getting her what she needs, getting her the information and learning so he can help her in the best way he can. So there are a lot of positives about her home life, and her family situation, that keep her grounded and allow her to be the player that she needs to be."
Meanwhile, WTA founder Billie Jean King also paid tribute to the teenager's accomplishment, posting: "Two generations of greatness on the court, and a tremendous win over her idol." Fellow WTA legend Martina Navratilova also commented: "Cori Gauff sure introduced herself to the tennis world in style!"