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Father of teenage Wimbledon star gave up job to help daughter succeed

American Cori Gauff made headlines on Monday after defeating five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in straight sets on No 1 Court.

Cori Gauff celebrates her win against Venus Williams (Mike Egerton/PA)
Cori Gauff celebrates her win against Venus Williams (Mike Egerton/PA)

The proud father of the 15-year-old schoolgirl who beat tennis great Venus Williams gave up his job to help his daughter succeed in the sport.

American Cori Gauff made headlines on Monday after defeating five-time Wimbledon champion Williams in straight sets on No 1 Court.

The teenager, from Delray Beach in Florida, is coached by her father Corey, who played basketball at Georgia State University.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Gauff said he “almost threw my hat away” as he celebrated his daughter’s stunning victory.

Mr Gauff, 47, said he was happy with the way the teenager handled the pressure of the Wimbledon stage.

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Corey Gauff celebrates his daughter’s victory over Venus Williams (Mike Egerton/PA)

“She gets stressed when the match is on the line,” he said.

“She had two really good serves and didn’t win and so now she’s back to deuce and to see her turn around, reset and start back over, that made me happy.”

He said he was “very proud” of his daughter’s achievement, which confirmed that “we’re doing the right thing with her.”

He added: “Its good to see that she can still compete and she’s still a well balanced young lady, still humble, she still appreciates people saying hello and always speaks back, so those things make me feel good, to see all that come together.”

“She’s by no means there, she’s just starting this journey, she’s got a lot to improve.”

Mr Gauff admitted it was “tough” for parents who decided to give up their jobs to support their children on the tennis tour.

He said he “didn’t look back” after leaving his role as head of sales at pharmaceutical company Remedy in June 2016 to back his daughter’s tennis career.

“When she was eight years old, she started to show promise and we put a plan together, and we’ve been executing that plan, benchmarks, and she’s obviously ahead of them now,” Mr Gauff said.

He added: “She seems to keep beating these benchmarks.”

After her momentous win, Gauff revealed she had thanked Williams for being an inspiration to her.

Mr Gauff recalled how watching the other Williams sister Serena at a young age had sparked his daughter’s interest in tennis.

He said: “She was maybe about four or five, we were living at Atlanta at the time, and I was watching the Australian Open, it comes on first thing in the morning, and Serena had just won.”

Young Gauff saw her father jumping and applauding Williams’s win and said: “Daddy you like that? I’m going to do the same thing too.”

Mr Gauff added: “So immediately set me the target to get a tennis racket, I remember it was a Prince racket, and she would start hitting on the garage door with a little soft sponge ball.”

He also revealed that his daughter’s nickname, Coco, was inspired by his grandmother in New Orleans calling him “Co” as a child.

PA

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