'Not A Great Thing': Gauff Reveals Distressing Racist Attack During Her Teenage Years

'Not A Great Thing': Gauff Reveals Distressing Racist Attack During Her Teenage Years

by Nurein Ahmed

Coco Gauff recently shared a truly distressing incident during her junior days in which she was subjected to racial discrimination.

Gauff is one of the most talented women on tour. Her breakthrough came at a very young age. In 2019, she famously announced herself on the big stage by qualifying for the Wimbledon main draw at the age of 15.

She upset one of her childhood idols, Venus Williams, in the first round. The young phenom reached the second week of the tournament, only to lose to eventual winner Simona Halep in the fourth round.

Since then, Gauff has been "addicted" to success, in her own words. Last year, she made quite the splash competing on home soil, winning three titles in the span of two months, culminating with her first Grand Slam title at the US Open.

But for those who have taken a keen interest in the 20-year-old's rise to stardom, the journey was littered with numerous speedbumps in its first steps. For instance, Gauff had to train on public tennis courts when her parents were both working day jobs.

It was one traumatic incident that happened when she was only 12 that has taught her a new perspective on social awareness. At the same time, she did not let the incident "define" the person she would become.

While competing in a junior tournament in France, the Delray native recounted when a group of Croatian boys threw orange peels at her and called her a "monkey," seemingly mocking her African-American background.

In an interview with TIME Magazine, for which Gauff was featured in its May publication, she explained how the incident made her cry the whole night but got over it the following day.

"Then I just kind of got over it the next day. I just felt like that’s just something that people experience, which is not a great thing. They just probably didn’t grow up around other people that looked different. I don’t have any anger towards it. It was not an experience that defined me."


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