As Coco Gauff plays in her first-ever U.S. Open semifinal, her biggest supporters will be cheering her on from her player's box: Her parents, Candi Gauff and Corey Gauff.
Earlier this summer, when Gauff won the Cincinnati Open, she said in her victory speech, "The biggest thank you to my parents. My mom, I love you so much for being my emotional support. My dad... he's the reason I’m here. The reason I play tennis. He's the reason I believe I can do this."
In a press conference following her quarterfinal win at the U.S. Open, the 19-year-old tennis star said, "My parents, they’re really my support system, helping me remember my clothes and everything. My dad is still sending me scouting reports every match. My mom is more so just being mom. My dad just being dad."
Here, get to know Coco Gauff's parents.
Meet Coco Gauff's dad, Corey:
Corey Gauff grew up in Delray Beach, Florida, and played college basketball at Georgia State University. He played a little tennis growing up, but not much. As Coco picked up the sport, he started as the coach. "I think it helps parents when they have played as high as college or even pro," he told the New York Times. "You better understand the process, and so you don’t get too jittery about it. You don’t feel like you’re running out of time, so you are not rushed. You kind of meet your kid where they are at."
He's no longer her main coach, but definitely still supports his daughter. "In the match, I try not to look at my parents too much, but definitely when I have a big 'Come on!' or I scream, I look at them because they kind of hype me up," Coco said a few years back. "And then sometimes when I feel a little bit tight during a match, I look at them because they just give me fist pumps, so that just shows me that everything’s gonna be okay. They’re definitely my biggest supporters."
Meet Coco Gauff's mom, Candi:
Candi Gauff (née Odom) is also from Delray Beach, Florida, the daughter of Eddie "Red" Odom and Yvonne Lee Odom. Her dad Eddie played college football, and then minor league baseball, before launching a Little League for Black kids to play in—the Delray Beach American Little League. Her mom (Coco's grandma), Yvonne, was the first Black student at her school, integrating her high school. "She's probably the sole reason why I use my platform the way that I do and why I feel so comfortable speaking out," Coco said.
Growing up, Candi did gymnastics and ran track, but decided to focus on the latter. "Track and field was a second love," Candi said. "Gymnastics was [my] first. But what overshadows everything is the love of competing. So no matter what I was going to do, I was going to try and do my best in it, because I just like to compete." In high school, she was a five-time Florida state champion in the heptathlon, and at college at Florida State University, Candi was on the track and field team. After graduation, she worked as a teacher, but she left her job to support her daughter's athletic journey full time.
Candi and Corey have two other children, sons Cody and Cameron.
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