By Martyn Herman
LONDON (Reuters) – Cori Gauff became the youngest player in the professional era to survive the Wimbledon qualifying draw on Thursday as the 15-year-old American thrashed Belgium’s Greet Minnen 6-1 6-1 to seal her place in next week’s main draw.
Gauff, who is combining her practice sessions with her schoolwork, looked like a seasoned grasscourt player as she claimed her a third successive straight-sets victory.
“I knew I was the underdog and I was just enjoying it,” Gauff, who says it would be a dream to play idols Serena or Venus Williams at Wimbledon, told reporters fresh from walking off court at Roehampton.
“Serena is the reason why I play tennis and why my dad decided to get me a racket.
“Obviously, I don’t care who I play I’m just happy to be in the draw but I would love to share the court with Serena. If I played any one of them it would be a dream come true.”
Gauff, who won the French Open junior title in 2018, was given a wildcard into the Wimbledon qualifying event and took advantage in spectacular fashion. She will be the first 15-year-old in the main draw since Britain’s Laura Robson in 2009.
“I had no expectations really,” she said. “I feel really blessed. My parents never put any limitations on my goals and told my to shoot as high as I can.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)