15-year-old teenager’s exceptional talent may force USTA to violate rules

Friday, August 09, 2019

The U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) may be forced to violate its own rules in a desperate attempt to bringing Cori Gauff, into the U.S. Open tournament.  The 15-year-old tennis phonon Cori, caught the attention of the tennis world for her captivating debut performance at Wimbledon last month.

Cori, fondly call Coco, rose to fame when she stormed the tennis world by making it to the second round of the APT tour. She became the youngest player to qualify for Wimbledon in the professional era and the youngest to reach the round of 32, since Jeniffer Capriati in 1991, knocking her idol and fellow American Venus Williams out of the tournament in the first round - a moment that brought Coco into spotlight.

She has received a worldwide support from celebrities like Michelle Obama, who sent a message of support to the rising star, in a twit posted on July 5, describing Coco as “terrific.”

Prior to Michelle’s tweet, Coco has called the former First Lady of United States her favorite person, idol and mentor and someone who inspires her greatly. The two American met a week after the return of Coco from London. They were seen on social media signing autographs which attracted more than one million followers.

In recognition of her astonishing Wimbledon display, The U.S. tennis association, (USTA), intends to award the teenager a wild-card entry into the main draw ahead of the 2019, U.S. open, a move that could clearly violate the USTA, player eligibility rules.

The USTA managing director of corporate communications Chris Widmaier is leading the efforts to have the Florida born rising star included in the main draw of the U.S. open. “The USTA is exempted from the wild-card eligibility rule,” Chris was quoted as saying.

According to APT rules, 15-year-olds are not allowed to submit more than three wild-cards. This means Coco who won her first ever Women’s doubles Tennis Association’s (WTA), title with partner and close friend Catherine (Caty), MCNally, at the Citi Open In Washington D.C. last week, has already used her three wild-cards, the first of which came during the Miami Open main draw  where she was a semi-finalist. She also earned her 1st WTA qualifying series in the same tournament - eventually making it to the all England game in London.

However, some champions have added their voice on calls for International Tennis professional body to review some of its rules that prevents young players participating in tournaments through wild-card entries.

Roger Federer, whose team 8 represents Coco Gauff calls the current rule counter-productive, nothing “it puts so much restrictions on the players eligibility to participate in certain tournaments.” Should Coco be awarded a wild-card into the main draw of the U.S. open, it would clearly violate the WTA rules because the young teenage sensation had already exhausted her eligibility requirements for the main draw. 

However, the organizers do not seem to worry about that. The U.S. open and WTA are simply trying to give tennis fans what they are interested in and wants to capitalize on Coco’s fame to promote the tournament to sponsors and the wider-audience.

After all, Coco’s Wimbledon performance clearly shows that she could compete in the U.S. Open and beat some of the best players in the world. The U.S. Open tournament gets underway in New York from August 26 to September 8, 2019.

Author: By Lamin Drammeh in U.S.A.