News : Coco Gauff: Cocomania in Flushing Meadows – Sports


News :

Coco Gauff: Cocomania in Flushing Meadows - Sports


A story about Coco Gauff should begin at the tennis tournament Little Mo in the US state of Texas. These are American championships for children who have not yet celebrated their eighth birthday - leading to the question of whether nationwide title fights for elementary school students are needed in a nation with 320 million inhabitants and an area of ​​ten million square kilometers. Coco Gauff of Delray Beach, Florida, 2100 kilometers away from the Austin tennis court, won this tournament in 2012, and even then, observers said that this girl would become famous.

Now the time has come. But you have to say that "famous" is an understatement - as if you were saying that when you visited the Beatles in the US a little something was going on. Cocomania rules Flushing Meadows on Saturday, and people wear T-shirts that say "Call me Coco," a pun on the English-Spanish call "Call me Loco" ("Stop me crazy!"). The #CallMeCoco hashtag publishes just about anything on Twitter that has anything to do with it: the dress depicting the New York tennis courts. Cheering poses. The twitching before swinging the backhand.

Of course, at the US Open they say every evening that the biggest tennis arena in the world is sold out - but in the match against defending champion Naomi Osaka, there are actually 23,711 people in their seats. Gauff is 15 years old. At this age teenagers go to a rock concert for the first time or kiss another person for the first time. Gauff plays for the first time in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, and it not only see more people in the stadium than usual. The TV channel ESPN reports that the attendance at the games of Gauff almost four times as high as the daily average. An employee of the station says that had switched on the double of Gauff more people than the single by Serena Williams.

Osaka win 6: 3, 6: 0. Gauff has no chance, she just wants to get away, down from the pitch, out of this stadium - but she is not allowed to. Osaka asks her to stay short and talk to the people together. Osaka then says, "I saw that she had tears in her eyes, and I thought it might be nice to say a few words to the people who cheered her on."

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An athlete always has to be a brand. Professional sport is not a meritocracy in which the best are the richest. It's the ones who make the most money that electrify the audience. Gauff stands there, starts to cry, later she will say: "I do not want all people to see me cry." But she also says, "Maybe it was good because it showed that I'm human."

Gauff has received just under $ 500,000 in prize money this year, and contracts with a supplier, noodle maker and racket manufacturer are expected to add about $ 1 million this year alone. Gauff is prophesied by almost every observer of the rise to number one in the world rankings and pop culture icon, as Serena Williams is now, the multi-millionaire. And given that she stands in this stadium and cries, one must ask already: how much pressure can a young woman endure?

You have to go back to Texas for this 2012 kids tournament to understand what's going on. Her parents were athletes at prestigious universities - mother Candi was an athlete, father Corey a basketball player - but they were never professionals. After the daughter's victory in this tournament, both have quit their jobs and taken care of the daughter's dream, which is probably a bit of hers too. At the age of ten, she came to the academy of Serena Williams trainer Patrick Mouratoglou, who today says, "I remember when I saw her for the first time: when she looks at you and says she's the number become one of the world, then you believe that. "

Is that really a compliment when talking about a 15-year-old girl that she's already mature?

There is now a debate at the US Open, which says a lot about how professional sports, show and business dealings are related. According to the regulations of the Women's Association WTA, a 15-year-old may participate in a maximum of ten professional tournaments per year. There is this rule because in the past there were many young players who not only burned but burned: Tracy Austin for example, Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati. For the US Open Gauff came over a wild card of the US Association. One exception allows her to participate in 14 tournaments until her 16th birthday.

This association markets Gauff now as a world sensation. Roger Federer, whose agency Team Eight now also markets Gauff, calls for a rule change - he finds that the pressure is too great if Gauff only the significant tournaments such as Wimbledon (they won against Venus Williams and reached the knockout stages) or the US Open games : "I think it can be counterproductive." Julia Görges, who lost to Gauff in the doubles on Friday, says: "To be honest: I do not want to be in her skin, I'm a little sorry for her, she has a great attitude, she's so cute, but I do not want to If you want to trade, I would be 15 years old now. "

The people who think that the associations should keep out of the life planning of a player and abolish this limitation, which refer to how mature Gauff already is. That she plays like an adult. That she's saying adult things like, "I've learned a lot for my long-term career over the past few weeks." Or, "Everyone is different, I have to develop at the speed that's right for Coco."

The defenders of the rules hold against it: Is that really a compliment, if one says about a 15-year-old, that she is already mature? There is no universal answer. Federer says, "There will not be a perfect solution." Incidentally, the next Under-Eight Championship will take place in Texas from 27 to 30 September.

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