By Todd Kortemeier | June 27, 2019, 3:51 p.m. (ET)

Cori Gauff celebrates winning the girls singles final at the 2018 French Open on June 9, 2018 in Paris.

 

When Cori “Coco” Gauff was born, her idol Serena Williams already had an Olympic gold medal and six Grand Slam singles titles to her name.

But next week in London, the 15-year-old Gauff and Williams will both compete in the first round at Wimbledon after Gauff topped Belgium’s Greet Minnen 6-1, 6-1, in the finals of the qualifying competition. At 15 years, 122 days, Gauff is the youngest Wimbledon qualifier in the Open Era.

Gauff, from Delray Beach, Florida, has made a name for herself on the junior circuit, winning the 2018 French Open and making the final in the previous year’s US Open. She made the latter final as a 13-year-old and made history there, too. She was the youngest-ever junior finalist at the US Open.

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Gauff counts Williams and Olympians Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens as her favorite players. She got the chance to meet Williams for the first time as an 8-year-old and several more times since. “Keep doing what you’re doing,” was the advice from the 37-year-old legend.

She’ll keep doing her thing, this time at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Logic would dictate she’ll have a tough go of it, but she doesn’t have to look far to find an inspirational performance. Just last month at Roland Garros, 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova made a surprise run to the semifinals at the French Open.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.