Sad end for Hollywood’s newest love
Cori "Coco" Gauff was devastated to be leaving Wimbledon today but she won't do so empty-handed, having picked up a legion of new fans.
Out of nowhere, the 15-year-old phenomenon made the biggest splash at the All England Club this year, powering into the round of 16 before her dream run came to an end when Simona Halep beat her 6-3 6-3 on Centre Court.
After surging past Venus Williams, Magdalena Rybarikova and Polona Hercog, overcoming the former world No. 1 was too tough an ask for the American youngster, who struggled with stomach pain during the match.
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After becoming the youngest ever player to qualify for Wimbledon in the Open era, Gauff has been a ball of energy since day one but she cut a dejected figure as she walked off the court.
"I was obviously disappointed. I mean, I would be disappointed in any loss no matter if I was playing a former world No. 1 or somebody younger than me," Gauff said. "I think I just need to go back to work and keep working hard and get ready for my next couple of tournaments."
Gauff's Wimbledon exploits have seen her transcend tennis. Her social media following has skyrocketed - she now has 340,000 Instagram followers and that number on Twitter has risen from 3000 before the grand slam to more than 115,000.
Among the plethora of people to give her shout outs on social media have been household Hollywood names like Samuel L Jackson and Reese Witherspoon, and other celebrities like artist/actor Jaden Smith, Snoop Dogg, Beyonce's mum Tina Knowles, Michelle Obama and NBA star Joel Embiid.
"Wow, what a comeback @CocoGauff," Witherspoon wrote on Twitter after her third round win over Hercog.
British actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge also labelled Gauff a "dreamboat".
Bruh watching Coco Gauff is low key like watching game 7 #NiceWin— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) July 5, 2019
Gauff said the global craze about her performances is "amazing" and after the loss to Halep, said former First Lady Obama's tweet was particularly special.
"It meant a lot to me because I've looked up to her for a long time. She's such a role model. I mean, I was really shocked. I wasn't expecting that. That was probably one of the least expected," Gauff said.
"I don't even know who I was expecting from. Some of the celebrities that tweeted me I didn't even know followed tennis. They probably don't follow tennis, but …
"I don't know, it's crazy how big this has gotten."
Gauff also said she was "screaming" when Knowles mentioned her on Instagram and was in complete shock when Smith tweeted about her after she'd earlier opened a press conference by telling everyone to listen to his newest album that had just dropped.
"Jaden just tweeted me, oh my gosh, he said '@Coco Gauff you're the one'!" she raved in an Instagram video.
Manic Monday always attracts a crowd at Wimbledon and plenty of other celebrities rocked up, with some catching a glimpse of Gauff on Centre Court. Pippa Middleton enjoyed the match against Halep while Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams and actresses Felicity Jones and Ruth Wilson also dropped into the All England Club.
One of the biggest indications of Gauff's star appeal is the TV audience she was able to command. The young gun was nothing short of box office for Brits tuning in to watch Wimbledon on the BBC as she rated out of this world.
Everyone at SW19 was right behind Gauff. The roar on Murray's Mound whenever she won a match - or even a rally - was as loud as anything reserved for local heroes Johanna Konta and Dan Evans, and Gauff said the reaction of the crowd is what she'll remember most from her first Wimbledon adventure.
"They've been amazing, like even this match. Even though I wasn't feeling my best, I wasn't playing my best, but they were still supporting me no matter what," Gauff said.
"It was really surprising because you don't really expect this kind of support when you're in another country, not your home country. I really did feel like I was probably playing in New York somewhere.
"I'm just really happy and happy that people believe in me."
Gauff said she was "super proud" of herself and hopes she showed the world just what she's made of, and can't wait to see how much more she's capable of in the future.
"I learned a lot. I learned how to play in front of a big crowd. I learned what it was like to be under pressure. I learned a lot and I'm really thankful for this experience," Gauff said.
"I hope they learned about me that I'm a fighter. I'll never give up. I hope they learned from me that, I mean, anything is possible if you work hard, just continue to dream big.
"Like I said, if somebody told me this maybe three weeks ago, I probably wouldn't believe it. But I think just putting in the work definitely raised my confidence because I knew how hard I worked and I knew what shots I could make and what was possible.
"I'm only 15. I've not nearly gotten or developed my game. I started tennis at six. I'm so excited to see, if I continue to work hard, what other success I can do in the future.
"These past two weeks have been amazing. I'm excited to be back next year."
OTHER NOTABLE WOMEN'S RESULTS
Alison Riske bt Ash Barty 3-6 6-2 6-3, Johanna Konta bt Petra Kvitova 4-6 6-2 6-4, Serena Williams bt Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-2, Karolina Muchova bt Karolina Pliskova 4-6 7-5 13-11, Elina Svitolina bt Petra Martic 6-4 6-2