Coco Gauff: What's it like being a world-famous teenage tennis star?

Last updated at 09:05
Coco-Gauff-on-court.Getty Images

Tennis star Coco Gauff became one of the biggest names in sport this summer, after becoming as the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon.

Her biggest moment was beating Venus Williams, something no one expected!

After making it through the first week of the competition, Coco was knocked out by Simona Halep - who went on to win the entire competition.

Teen Vogue caught up with her ahead of the US Open, where she's secured another wild-card entry for the tournament's main draw.

So what's life been like for Coco since she shot to fame at Wimbledon and what's she been up to?

Coco's been spending time with family

Coco-Gauff-at-US-Open-2018.Getty Images

Understandably she been busy with tennis practice and home schooling, but when she's not on the court she enjoys spending time with her family.

Coco told Teen Vogue: "I don't really look at my cousins as cousins, more as friends, because I actually hang out with them," she says. "Now that everything has happened, I know that they are going to always have my back."

Although tennis is her focus, she's passionate about spending big holidays with family, so if Coco ends up playing in the Australian Open (which takes place just after Christmas) her family will have to factor it in.

Coco's-mum-and-dad-Corey-and-Candi.DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS

But like every teen, she still has the occasional disagreement with her parents. "Sometimes when you're around someone a lot, you're gonna get sick of them," she says. "So sometimes [my dad and I] go through that, and then my mom kind of pieces it back together."

When she's not playing she's most likely to be found watching sports with her brothers, Cameron, 6, and Cody, 11. She also likes ordering new sportswear and jeans, binge-watching TV series, and listening to a lot of hip-hop.

And when she's not off travelling the world, she likes returning to where she's most at home. After Wimbledon in July, Coco says she spent her first weekend at home going to church, where her great-grandfather used to be the pastor.

She's had to get used to her newfound fame

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Since Wimbledon, Coco's received tweets from former First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as getting DMs from Beyonce's sister Solange, fashion designer Tina Lawson, and her favourite YouTube beauty guru, Jackie Aina.

What did she do? She reacted like all of us probably would - by immediately Facetiming her best friend!

"She's screaming. I'm screaming," she says. "My dad, he doesn't really know all the people that I'm into, so he's like, 'Oh, who is he? Oh, that's cool'."

Coco-Gauff-surrounded-by-fans.Getty Images

Although the "Cocomania" that came after Wimbledon was mainly positive, Coco says she's learned not to pay too much attention to what other people think.

She doesn't read articles about herself, and says she doesn't like to read too much into the labels that have been placed on her.

"I try not to think about it, because it'll put too much pressure on [me]," she says.

And although her Instagram comments are "99% positive", she says "even the negatives I see [don't] bother me because I don't care".

Coco's thinking about her future

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"I don't want [to just] be known as a tennis player," Coco said, so she's planning for college.

She told Teen Vogue, that since she was a small child, her parents have had high expectations for her, not necessarily to win trophies, but to reach her fullest potential in whatever she sets out to do.

"[Coco] has a responsibility," Candi says. "You come from a lineage who has done great things. We wouldn't put [anything] on you that hasn't been done [already]."

But she wants people to know that none of her success has happened by accident, steering away from describing herself as a 'prodigy'.

Coco-Gauff-wins-at-French-Open.Getty Images

Coco's dad Corey added: "When it comes to something like tennis, [Coco] works hard. This is not an accident. She might be overnight popular, but she's not an overnight success."

Coco's parents are also keen that she remains "the humble, well-mannered, driven person they know her to be", but still "has space to be a kid".

"She's going to make some little bad choices here and there. We just hope that they're not catastrophic," her dad said.

Preparing for the US Open

Coco's received a wildcard entry for the US Open's main draw later this month, and will no doubt be aware that all eyes will be on her, following her success at Wimbledon.

Coco says she always dreamed of becoming the best at tennis, but she never expected the attention that would come with it.

"Tennis in the U.S. isn't, like, that big of a sport, and now I have people, like, stopping me on the street and everything," she says. "I guess it's a plus."

Coco-Gauff-on-court.Getty Images

There are rules which restricts the number of professional tournaments teenagers can play based on their age and the number of wildcards they can receive.

The regulations from the Women's Tennis Association's (WTA) are designed to protect young players from burning out from playing too many games, and being under too much pressure early in their careers. But some people argue that they prevent very successful younger players like Coco from reaching their full potential.

But for now, it doesn't sound like Coco is too worried. She said: "I just want to win more. I love winning more than I hate losing."

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