Coco Gauff May Be the 'Fearless' Leader We Need

'Time' profile of 20-year-old tennis star dives into her athleticism, 'unique connection' with fans
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2024 5:30 AM CDT
US' Next Iconic One-Name Athlete May Be ... Coco
Coco Gauff of the US serves to Sachia Vickery of the US, during the women's Tennis Grand Prix WTA tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, on April 17.   (Marijan Murat/dpa via AP)

Coco Gauff has been ascending the ladder of women's tennis, and a new profile of her speculates we may only be seeing the beginning of what she's capable of. In his piece on the 20-year-old elite athlete for Time, Sean Gregory dives deep into that athleticism, inspired by the Williams sisters and driven by Gauff's seeming inability to ever tire. That hard work on the court has paid off: Gregory notes she earned $23 million last year in both victories and endorsements, making her the highest-paid female athlete on the planet. Gauff has also developed a "unique connection" with fans, due to her skills, "her willingness to be vocal about sociopolitical issues," and her empathy toward others who've endured health issues, Gregory writes. "She's focused. She's fearless. We need some leaders in the women's game. She definitely will be one of them. If not the one," tennis great Chris Evert says.

Not that it's been a total walk in the park: Gauff has faced racism during her journey, including one instance when she was 12 and competing in a tournament in France and a group of boys threw orange peels and a racial slur at her. However, "I don't have any anger towards it," she says now. "It was not an experience that defined me." Put all together, Gauff may be heading straight toward legend mode, per Gregory. "That her game might just be scratching the surface of its greatness speaks to Gauff's status as America's potential next iconic, mononymous athlete," he writes of her potential to become a one-name phenom. "From Tiger to Serena to LeBron to ... Coco?" Gregory thinks that time is coming, if it's not already here. Read his piece in full, including a snippet on how Gauff warms up in a way that "[gets] in the American guys' heads." (More Coco Gauff stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.