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Wimbledon: 15-Year-Old Competitor Defeats Venus Williams

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. There's the experience of meeting your idols, and then there's the experience of beating your idols.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Right. And yesterday, 15-year-old Cori Gauff did both. In the first round of Wimbledon, she faced off against and then defeated five-time tournament champ Venus Williams.

INSKEEP: Afterward, Gauff shook hands with Williams, and they lingered to talk. Gauff was asked what she and Williams were talking about.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CORI GAUFF: I was just telling her thank you for everything that she's done for the sport and she's been an inspiration for many people. And I was just really telling her thank you. I met her before, but I didn't really have the guts to say anything. So I was, like, I mean, now or never.

MARTIN: Many people, including Venus' sister Serena, see similarities between the two players. They both have height and range and an aggressive style.

INSKEEP: Former tennis champ Zina Garrison has been there. Garrison made it to the 1990 Wimbledon final, facing off against Martina Navratilova. And she likes what she sees in Gauff.

ZINA GARRISON: I thought Coco was extremely poised and really wasn't scared for a 15-year-old to be on such a grand court and to be playing her idol.

MARTIN: Gauff is known as Coco. And Garrison told us that playing there comes with a strong sense of history.

GARRISON: Wimbledon is very special because it's still a very small, quaint court surround. And you can feel the presence of the people there before you.

MARTIN: Coco Gauff still has a ways to go to win Wimbledon, but she is determined to do it. Beating tennis royalty is a good first step. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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