Teen Phenom Coco Gauff to play Indian Wells

Oct 5, 2021, 12:23 PM

Barely three weeks after reaching her first Grand Slam final in flushing, along with her doubles partner and dear friend Caty McNally of Cincinnati, American teenage sensation Coco Gauff is in California to compete at the Indian Wells Tennis championship also known as BNP Paribas Open.

The WTA 1000 event will mark Coco's first competitive tournament which comes exactly 34 days since she lost in the second round of the US Open to compatriot Stephens Sloane on September 1.

The impressive Coco is expected to feature in the Indian Wells along with some of the top players on the women's side that include; A surprised U.S. open winner Emma Raducanu. The 18-year-old Briton has received a wildcard entry into the main draw. She will be playing at the Indian Wells for the very first time, and hoping to replicate similar success which saw her win the U.S. Open title without dropping a single set in 10 consecutive matches including the qualifying rounds. 

However, there has been some high-profiled withdrawals that include: four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka, No.1&2 seeds: Aryna Sabalenka and Ashleigh Barty as well as Serena Williams who has not played a single match since she hurt her left leg by slipping during a point while playing at Wimbledon in June, an injury which suddenly ended Serena's latest bid for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title - held by legendary former tennis superstar Margaret Courts from Australia.

The young American Gauff, has been working extremely hard, hitting the ball with depth and focus during Sunday's training sessions at the Indian Wells Tennis Center in California. Coco is hoping to make a deep run at the tournament later this week. 

The WTA main draw will be made at The Indian Wells Garden today, 5 October at 3:00 p.m. The draw will be followed by the tournament proper which is due to commence on October 7, at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, near Palm Springs in the Coachella Valley, California.

The prize money for this year's Indian Wells Tennis Championship is pegged at staggering $15.3 million, the most for a combined ATP and WTA event of this size since the start of the pandemic in 2020.  

                 DOUBLES CATEGORY

If her current doubles standing is anything to go by, Coco will also likely play doubles in Guadalajara, with Caty McNally with whom she won three doubles titles. At present, the dynamic duo Gauff and McNally who preferred to be called 'McCoco' have 2770 points, which puts them in the sixth spot as the race to qualify for the season's ending WTA doubles Finals in Mexico gather momentum. 

                 WORLD RANKING 

The 17-year-old Coco who has won two career WTA singles title, is the youngest player ranked in the top 100 by the Women's Tennis Association and has a career-high ranking of world No. 19 in singles - making her the second highest profile American in the top 20 of the WTA world rankings, sitting only behind Sofia Kenin in 8 place. Former world No.1 Serena Williams has dropped to No. 41 in the latest ranking order, earning just 1,591 points, 1224 Points below Coco who has accumulated a massive 2,815 points in the process.

Coco's rapid rise to stardom has been the most-talked about tennis story in recent memories. She burst on to the scene with a magical run to the fourth-time at Wimbledon in 2019, defeating five-time winner Venus Williams along the way. At 17-years and 86 days old, Gauff is the youngest player to make a Grand Slam quarterfinal since Nicole Vaidisova reached the last eight at the 2006 French Open. 

We wish Coco greater success in the desert.  

Author: Lamin Drammeh - a multiple award winning journalist and former sports editor, The Point Newspaper: