Candi Gauff, the mother of Coco Gauff, the teenage sensation who is having a fairytale Wimbledon 2019, is herself a former college athlete.
It’s clear that, at least in part, Cori Gauff (Coco is her nickname) inherited her mother’s athleticism. Candi and Cori’s dad, Corey Gauff, have been fixtures on the sidelines during Wimbledon, in which Coco upset her idol Venus Williams, before vanquishing two other opponents. On July 5, 2019, the 15-year-old won a very tough third round match against Polona Hercog. She was defeated by Simona Halep at Wimbledon on July 8.
Coco’s parents started Cori in tennis in the second grade, and Corey Gauff remains his daughter’s coach.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Coco’s Mom Got So Excited During Wimbledon That Cori Hoped She Would Become an Instagram Meme
Cori’s mom’s hand-waving excitement after her daughter’s victory over Hercog drew the Internet’s attention – in a good way. The exuberant mom seemed tailor-made for a meme. At least her daughter hoped so.
“Please tell me she’s a meme. I’m so excited to go on Instagram,” Cori laughed to Reuters. “I’m going to retweet it and everything.”
Candi has described her excitement as her daughter progresses through the ranks at Wimbledon. “We gave her a hug and she said ‘Mom, really, did you think I could win? Come on, tell me!’ And I was like ‘Yeah, I really thought you could win!’” Candi remembered to NBC News.
2. Cori Gauff’s Mom Excelled at Track & Field in College
Cori’s mom Candi was a gymnast before becoming a track-and-field star at Florida State University. Journalist Ira Schoffel wrote that Candi Gauff (Odom) “was a star track athlete at Florida State in the late ’80s & early ’90s.” She was known as Candi Odom back then.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, “Candi was a breakout athlete in her own right. She was a two-time South Florida Sun Sentinel Athlete of the Year before competing on FSU’s track and field team from 1988 through 1992.”
FSU Track & Field wrote on Twitter: “Neat @FSU_Track / Wimbledon connection tomorrow on Centre Court when 15 yr old @CocoGauff takes on @Venuseswilliams…Gauff is the daughter of former #Noles heptathlon standout Candi Odom!”
Candi gave up gymnastics because her parents wouldn’t let her move to train, the Sun-Sentinel reported. “Track and field was a second love,” Candi said to that newspaper. “Gymnastics was [my] first. But what overshadows everything is the love of competing. So no matter what I was going to do, I was going to try and do my best in it, because I just like to compete.”
3. Candi Gauff, Who Home Schools Coco, Has Three Children With Corey Gauff
Candi Gauff is the mother of three – Coco and two younger boys. Candi Odom Gauff posts about her daughter’s tournaments on her Facebook page. She has also posted family photos showing her, her husband, Coco, and two smaller children, her sons with Corey.
According to the Sun-Sentinel, Candi is a former teacher who “home-schooled Coco, even giving a science test during this Wimbledon.”
In 2018, she wrote on Facebook, “Looking forward to 2019. My theme for 2019 is…Purge, Praise, and Prosper. Getting rid of ‘excess baggage,’ (things and negativity that drains my spirit), praising God for His goodness and mercy, and prosper in my health, mind, spirit, and wealth. Thank you to my family and friends who have been apart of my core support system over the past two years. (That includes the moms and coaches that kept an eye out on Cameron at Pompey). I am not going to tag everyone, but know I greatly appreciate it and I will not forget it.”
Corey told NOLA that he advised his daughter before defeating Venus to “keep it simple and to stay in the moment.”
4. Gauff’s Parents Modeled Their Daughter’s Success After the Williams’ Sisters
According to the New York Times, Corey and Candi Gauff followed the “road map” drawn by the Williams’ sisters’ dad and that included “a shared training base of Pompey Park in Delray Beach, Fla.”
“The Williams family in general made me realize that it was possible,” said Corey Gauff, to the Times. “There wasn’t a lot of color in the sport, and particularly in our country, African-American girls weren’t playing tennis.”
The newspaper reported that Corey Gauff is his daughter’s “primary coach,” but the family sought the assistance of coaches at Mouratoglou Academy in France when Cori was 10. According to NOLA.com, Cori Gauff got her nickname Coco from her dad because family members would refer to him as “Co.”
The family moved from Georgia to their current home base in Florida when Gauff was only age 7 to help her tennis career.
5. Candi Tries to Meditate & Pray During Her Daughter’s Matches
Watching Cori play some of the best players in the world at Wimbledon has been a nailbiting experience. Imagine what it is like for her mom. Candi told the Tallahassee Democrat that she tries to be “calm, pray, meditate” during her daughter’s matches.
Candi Gauff told the New York Times that she has pulled back when it comes to Cori’s tennis career.
“I try to back away on the court, because too many voices can be a crowd,” Candi Gauff said. “I let my husband be the coach, and I’m the supportive mom, the one if she hurts or is crying that she can communicate with.”