Gauff, a school student from the US, defeated her tennis idol 6-4, 6-4 in her Wimbledon debut, showing the fearless precision and power of a much more experienced player.
Williams, at age 39, is the oldest woman in the field and is considered Wimbledon royalty. She’s won the Wimbledon singles title five times. Two of these titles occurred before Gauff was even born in 2004.
Gauff was given a wildcard into the qualifying tournament and is the youngest player in the Wimbledon draw.
She’s been steadily rising through the junior ranks for the past couple of years and is considered one of the most promising up-and-comers. In 2018, she won the French Open junior title at age 14.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 1, 2019
Venus has been one of the teenager’s long-time heroes. Gauff grew up admiring the Williams sisters and they remain the major reason she took up tennis as a child.
“Honestly, I don’t really know how to feel. This is the first time I ever cried after a match. Of winning, obviously; I’ve cried after a loss before,” a shell-shocked Gauff said after the match.
“I don’t even know how to explain how I feel.”
“I definitely had to tell myself to stay calm. I have never played on a court so big, but I had to remind myself that the lines on the court are the same size, everything around it might be bigger, but the lines are the same and after every point I was just telling myself to stay calm.”
“I never thought this would happen, I am literally living my dream right now, and not many get to say that.”
Gauff also paid tribute to her idol, claiming she wouldn’t be playing tennis if it wasn’t for the Williams sisters.
“After the match I told her just thank you for everything she did. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her,” she said. “I was just telling her that she is so inspiring and that I always wanted to tell her that. I met her before, but I didn’t really have the guts to say anything.”
As the veteran Williams declared post-match, the sky is the limit for Gauff.