How Coco Gauff Emulated Venus Williams' Ranking Feat From 1999

How Coco Gauff Emulated Venus Williams' Ranking Feat From 1999

by Nurein Ahmed

After a breathless fortnight at Flushing Meadows Coco Gauff emerged the new US Open champion and that is only half the story.

Gauff wrote her name in tennis folklore by achieving a number of firsts during the two weeks. After entering the tournament with the best winning run of any player, winning 11 of her 12 matches during the US swing, the 19-year-old put a capstone to her career-best win streak by winning a maiden Grand Slam title.

Gauff stunned WTA's new No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka in front of sold-out Arthur Ashe Stadium, who cheered vociferously for tennis' most precocious talent since a young Serena Williams dazzled these courts en route to her first major title over two decades ago.

In the ever-chaotic landscape of the WTA rankings, it looks like we might have some semblance of stability at last. Half of the Top 10 from last year's US Open have retained their places this week, and the addition of five new names has been on merit - two have been Grand Slam finalists this year, and the other two have conquered the Grand Slams.

Gauff is one of those who was on the winner's podium. She broke the WTA's Top 10 for the first time at the 2022 US Open, reaching the quarterfinals stage. This week, she has risen to World No. 3 by virtue of winning the 2023 edition - a career-high ranking of an American teenager since Venus Williams broke that hurdle back in 1999. Serena wasn't ranked in the world's Top 3 until she was 20.

Gauff speaks fondly of the impact the Williams sisters have had on her career, and it might be tempting to draw parallels between them at this stage. Gauff is already the youngest American player to win the US Open since Serena managed to do so in 1999, joining an illustrious list of teenage champions at the US Open that also includes Tracy Austin and Pete Sampras.


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