(CNN) — If you hadn’t heard of Cori “Coco” Gauff before, then you probably have now.

The 15-year-old tennis prodigy became the youngest player to win a singles match at Wimbledon since 1991 when she downed her idol Venus Williams in straight sets Monday.

It took just one hour and 19 minutes for the youngest player in the draw to beat the oldest, but it felt like a lifetime for her mother and father watching on from the stands.

After Williams hit the net at match point, Coco’s father let out a primal scream as his daughter fell to her haunches in pure surprise at what she just achieved.

It was the culmination of years of hard work and dedication, which, in many ways, was a true family effort.

“It was pure joy, he was finally able to let out the emotions in one big scream,” Candi Gauff told CNN Sport, speaking of her husband’s reaction.

“It was overwhelming, it was stressful, my nerves were at their highest and I’m just glad she was successful.”

‘Needed training’

The American certainly has an athletic pedigree. Her mother was a talented track and field athlete and her father Corey was a college basketball star.

They watched as their daughter started playing tennis at just six years old, but it took a year for Candi to realize the true potential her daughter possessed.

When Coco was just seven, she attended a summer camp where she was, as her mother readily admits, the worst tennis player on the program.

Despite her lack of obvious ability, Coco’s attitude when “running after every ball” demonstrated a mindset that few children have.

“Her desire never changed so we knew as parents that we wanted to give her the best opportunity to be successful, she just needed training,” her mother added.

If training is what she needed, training is what she got with her father taking over responsibility.

‘A student first’

Since then, Coco’s rising star has been fueled by a number of wins that highlighted her extreme potential.

Last year, she won the French Open girl’s championship and reached the quarter finals of junior Wimbledon.

She also became the youngest woman to win a grand slam qualifying match in the French Open earlier this year.

Despite her meteoric rise, the family ensure her feet stay firmly on the ground.

Originally home-schooled by her mother, Coco is made to keep up with her education no matter where she is in the world.

“It is becoming a little more challenging but she knows it’s one of the jobs she has to do,” Candi said about her daughter’s schoolwork.

“Tennis is secondary, being a student is first.”

‘It has to come from within’

Following Monday’s win, Coco enjoyed a minor celebration but her attention almost instantly switched to her next opponent — the teenager was out practicing the very next day between multiple media requests.

It’s been predicted than her daughter could earn more than $1 million by the end of the year but Candi is determined to keep life as normal as possible by keeping her circle of influence as small as possible.

However, a competitive streak clearly runs through this family and one eye is certainly on going all the way on the green grass of Wimbledon.

“When you enter the tournament the goal is to win it. If you don’t have the title at the forefront then you’re already at a loss,” Candi said, before sending a message to her daughter.

“You have the ability, you’ve done the training, you may not have the experience but I believe in you and your father believes in you.

“You can do this, it has to come from within. If you don’t believe then you will never achieve.”

‘Bittersweet moment’

The teenager is now coached by her father but she has enjoyed spells training with Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

The Williams family have, in many ways, provided a model for how to bring up a tennis superstar but also paved the way for young black girls to succeed in the sport, Candi says.

Coco grew up idolizing both sisters and the fact she beat seven-time grand slam champion Venus was symbolic of the influence both have had.

“It’s a bittersweet moment of course,” Candi told CNN’s New Day. “She [Coco] was grateful and humble to have the opportunity to play one of her idols.

“It felt like all her dreams were coming true at that one moment, I was ecstatic for her.”

Coco’s next opponent is Slovakia’s Magdaléna Rybáriková, ranked 252nd in the world — 61 places higher than the American.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Comments

Leave a Reply