Cori Gauff is not your typical 15-year-old.
While most teenagers were navigating high school, Gauff became the youngest competitor to qualify for the Wimbledon Tennis Championships.
Today, the sports star added another line to her resumé — defeating one of her tennis idols, five-time singles champion Venus Williams, in straight sets in the first round of play. She is now the youngest woman to win a Wimbledon match since 1991.
Gauff, whose chart-busting career began at the age of seven, was not only the youngest player to reach the U.S. Open girls’ final at 13 years old, but also the youngest female player to win a Grand Slam match in the qualifying rounds of the French Open in May.
Less than seven months before she made her mark at Roland-Garros, Gauff entered into a multiyear endorsement contract with sportswear manufacturer New Balance. (It also sponsors tennis stars Milos Raonic, Danielle Collins and Heather Watson.)
The Boston-based company posted a congratulatory tweet in honor of Gauff’s most recent victory — a match that pitted the youngest competitor in the tournament against the oldest. (Williams is 39.)
“Honestly I don’t really know how to feel,” Gauff, who was ranked No. 313 in the world ahead of the match, said in a post-round interview. “I never thought this would happen. I’m literally living my dream right now, and not many people get to say that. I’m just happy that Wimbledon gave me the opportunity to play.”
Gauff’s win is also a win for New Balance, as it aims to be more compete with heavyweight athletic giants Nike and Adidas in the sport. (The former has found a long-term partner in 23-time Grand Slam champ Serena Williams, while the latter recently signed rising star and former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka in a surprise endorsement deal.)
As one of its newest ambassadors, Gauff — who has more than 56,000 followers on Instagram — joins the crop of rising tennis stars who are edging their way into the court.
“Coco’s performance on-court showcases the quality and look of New Balance footwear and apparel at the highest level,” New Balance Tennis sports marketing manager Evan Zeder told FN. “[Her] recent win is not only another step in her career, it’s a win for New Balance Tennis and shows that we are committed to changing the game alongside an athlete who is carving their own path.”
This story was updated to include comment from New Balance.
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