Corey and Candi Gauff, the parents of teenage tennis sensation Cori Gauff, are both successful athletes who moved their family to Florida to give their daughter a better chance at professional tennis.
Cori, who is also called Coco Gauff, is having a great Wimbledon 2019; she became the youngest player to ever qualify for Wimbledon and then defeated one of her idols at the famous tennis tournament: Venus Williams. On July 5, 2019, she won a very tough third round match against Polona Hercog to continue a fairytale Wimbledon. She was defeated by Simona Halep at Wimbledon on July 8.
Cori is 15-years-old. She was born on March 13, 2004, she’s right-handed, she’s based in Delray Beach, Florida, and she’s from Atlanta, Georgia. Gauff defeated Venus Williams in Wimbledon’s first round, 6-4 6-4. Williams, of course, is a five-time Wimbledon champion. In the second round, she defeated Magdalena Rybarijova, 6-3, 6-3. She defeated Polona Hercog in a heart-stopping match 3-6, 7-6, 7-5.
Cori’s mom’s hand-waving excitement after her daughter’s victory over Hercog drew the Internet’s attention. “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.”
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 about Gauff’s parents:
1. Cori’s Mom, Candi Gauff, Was a College Track & Field Star
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.
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 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.
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.”
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.”
2. Cori’s Dad, Corey Gauff, Was a College Basketball Player
Both of Gauff’s parents are strong athletes and both are from Delray Beach, Florida, according to the Sun Sentinel.
According to UK Standard, her dad played basketball at Georgia State University.
Corey Gauff was a guard. You can see his basketball stats here.
Corey Gauff described playing on tennis courts near New Orleans to NOLA.com, which reported that he was born in New Orleans, but moved to Florida as an infant. However, he would return to New Orleans for family visits. Corey’s mom went to Xavier University, the site reported.
“Just to get in her first grand slam is big,” Corey Gauff said to NOLA.com, “and then to play her first match against Venus on Court I — the cathedral of tennis? That’ll be a great memory; something she’ll always remember.”
“She has this uncanny determination,” Corey said in an interview with the Sun-Sentinel about his daughter. “[Candi] tells the story of [Coco] running around the track with her older cousins when she was 3 or 4 years old, and she wouldn’t stop and she kept running, and she was crying because she couldn’t catch them. And I’m like, ‘Man, this is gonna be interesting. She’s got some kind of determination.’”
Corey told NOLA that he advised his daughter before defeating Venus to “keep it simple and to stay in the moment.”
3. Serena Williams Says Gauff & Her Family Are ‘Cool People’
Serena Williams and Cori Gauff form a mutual admiration society.
Serena Williams is “the reason why I play tennis,” Cori told BBC Sports. She’s also a fan of Venus Williams. According to CNBC, before her match against 39-year-old Venus, she declared, “I’ve been dreaming to share the court with Venus.”
After defeating Venus, she told BBC: “I don”t really know how to feel, this is the first time I’ve cried after a match, after winning.” In a video posted by Wimbledon’s YouTube page, Gauff called Venus one of her idols. “Not many people get to play Wimbledon at 15,” she said. “…and we’ll see where this goes.”
For her part, Serena Williams called Cori an “exciting young player, and she’s so cool. She’s a great girl.” She also had positive things to say about Cori’s dad. “I love her dad. They’re just really cool people. It’s a great moment for her…” She said that Gauff reminds her of Venus.
Cori Gauff is just starting to break through. According to WTA, she’s only earned just over $75,000 in her career. However, she stands to rake in much more in endorsement deals.
4. Gauff’s Parents Followed the Same ‘Road Map’ as the Williams’ Sisters’ Father
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.”
5. Gauff’s Parents Moved From Georgia to Florida to Help Their Daughter’s Tennis Career
The family moved from Georgia to their current home base in Florida when Gauff was only age 7 to help her tennis career.
In Florida, Gauff juggles tennis with being a high school student, and she even completed a science test the night before the qualifying tournament files, according to CNBC.
“After I made the main draw here, two of my teachers found out I play tennis,” she said in a video posted on the Wimbledon page. “They saw my name in an article. I have three other teachers that don’t know I play tennis. I’m not really the type of person to talk about myself, so I still think they don’t know.”
Gauff tweets under the name Coco Gauff.