Tearing their way through the Women’s Doubles portion of the 2019 U.S. Open are budding tennis superstars Cori “Coco” Gauff, 15, and partner Caty McNally, 17. After winning the Round 2 match against No. 9 seeds Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke, their nickname #McCoco started trending on Twitter. The teenage dream team have never lost a set when playing together, and they stand undefeated with an 11-0 record in the pros.
Two weeks after winning at the Citi Open, thus far at the U.S. Open, Coco and Caty have won 7-6, 6-2, and 6-3, 7-6. During Round 3, the American team will go up against No. 8 seeds, Ash Barty and Victoria Azarenka on Monday at 5:30 p.m. ET. Barty, who’s ranked No. 2 in singles, won the U.S. Open doubles title last year with partner CoCo Vandeweghe.
Here’s what you need to know about Caty McNally…
1. Caty Gets Her Tennis Skills From Her Mama
Caty was born was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 20, 2001, to parents Lynn Nabors and John McNally. Her mother is a former WTA pro and All Big Ten Player, who now works as tennis coach at The Club at Harper’s Point in Symmes Township. While her father is a financial service professional and plays tennis for fun, Caty’s older brother, John Jr., plays for Ohio State University.
Lynn told Family Circle, “My parents didn’t push tennis on me. I just loved doing it,” shares Lynn. “The same is true for my kids. I don’t even talk that much about my experiences; I’ve always wanted it to be their thing. They grew up around the club where I teach, so they watched me quite a bit. We just started hitting balloons when they were each around 3. It was more so that I could spend time with them, but it built up from there. You never really know—turns out they’ve become very good at it!”
Caty, who’s been coached by her mother since she was 4-years-old, is ranked No. 111 in the world. In June 2019, she qualified for her first Grand Slam main draw at Wimbledon.
2. Her Twitter Handle Used to Be ‘Caty Federer’
While Caty’s Twitter handle is her name, three years ago, it used to be @CatyFederer. Lynn said of her then 14-year-old daughter, “My daughter’s Twitter handle is Caty Federer, so it’s all about Roger Federer. Her dream is to meet him. Caty saw him at the Open, but if she took a photo with him, she’d probably faint.” A moment which eventually came to fruition at the Australian Open, and again at the Wimbledon Ball.
Her mother also imparted a very important lesson to a young Caty and her brother. “So told us to believe that everyone is beatable.” In 2018, she won the junior title at the 2018 French Open with partner Iga Swiatek, losing in the singles final to none other than Coco.
3. Caty Took a Set Off Serena Williams
Caty played against Serena Williams for the first time at the U.S. Open, and in 47 minutes and a 100 mph serve, she won the first set. According to ESPN, Williams has never dropped a set in her 18 the second round appearances at the U.S. Open. While the 17-year-old didn’t go on to beat one of her idols, Williams took the next two sets 6-3, 6-1, Cat was still thrilled to be a part of the match at the infamous 24,000 seat Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Afterward, Caty tweeted, “Getting sooo much love and support it’s unbelievable on Ashe at night against @serenawilliams was a dream come true… you are the [goat emoji]. An experience I will remember for the rest of my life. @usopen.”
4. Caty and Coco are Genuinely Close Friends
McNally, who’s making her Grand Slam debut alongside Coco, said of her doubles partner, “Coco and I just get along so well on and off the court. I think that helps so much. We have really good chemistry and we support each other. When one person gets down, the other person helps to get them back up and vice versa. I’m so thankful that I have Coco next to me.”
As a pair, Team McCoco is undefeated:
#McCoco at the 2018 U.S. Open Juniors
#McCoco at the 2019 Citi Open:
Coco said after Round 2 of the U.S Open, “The crowd was unreal today. I didn’t think it would be that many people at the match, to be honest. I mean, I knew we were on [Louis Armstrong Stadium], but I couldn’t see an empty seat and they were sold out and so supportive. I think that definitely helped us, especially when the pressure moments came.”
5. Caty Is Looking to Attend Ohio State University
While Caty’s professional career is taking off, she’s a die-hard Ohio State University fan, which is where her brother attends and plays tennis. Caty and her brother are incredibly close. Not only do the siblings regularly attend Buckeye football games, they’ve trained together since they were little, and continue to support each other throughout their athletic careers.
Caty continues her education while playing professionally through online classes. Of her daily schedule on the Women’s Tour she told WCPO, “Going to practice a little. I’m going to get a massage because it was a pretty long match, pretty physical for me, then we’ll go back to the hotel and do some homework. That’s pretty much the plan for the day.”