Thursday 22 August 2019

'I hope Beyonce saw that' - Wimbledon's wonder child no believer in destiny but hopes run leads to concert ticket

All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 5, 2019 Cori Gauff of the U.S. celebrates winning her third round match against Slovenia's Polona Hercog REUTERS/Toby Melville
All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain - July 5, 2019 Cori Gauff of the U.S. celebrates winning her third round match against Slovenia's Polona Hercog REUTERS/Toby Melville

Jonathan Veal

Cori Gauff hopes her amazing Wimbledon journey will help her land tickets to a Beyonce concert.

The 15-year-old has been the story of the Championships so far, having come through qualifiers to beat Venus Williams in the first round, and added a new chapter when she fought off match points to beat Polona Hercog 3-6 7-6 (7) 7-5.

Her precocious talent had already been established, but her fightback proved she is 'Crazy In Love' with SW19 and whatever happens next her performance will be remembered alongside the likes of Boris Becker's and Martina Hingis' in terms of outstanding teenage stars here.

In terms of her immediate future, Gauff hopes to be able to see the American pop star after her mum Tina Knowles posted a video of her winning on Instagram.

"The most unexpected message I received - well, it wasn't really a message. Miss Tina Knowles, Beyonce's mum, posted me on Instagram. I was, like, screaming," Gauff said.

"I don't know, like I hope Beyonce saw that. I hope she told her daughter about me because I would love to go to a concert.

"Once my parents told me to babysit my brothers. They didn't tell me where they were going.

"Then I see on Facebook that they're at the Beyonce and Jay-Z concert. I was so mad. I told them I wanted to go.

"They're like, 'We'll be back in a couple of hours'. Then I see on Facebook they're in Miami at Beyonce and Jay-Z."

If she carries on at this rate, Gauff could easily turn into a global superstar, but she insists she is not a Destiny's Child and is willing to work hard for whatever success she can get.

"I don't really believe in fate and destiny," she said. "I feel like you can kind of change your own world.

"Like sometimes fate can always not be a good thing. Sometimes fate can be a bad thing.

"I try not to think of it as my destiny or whatever. I feel like if I do think about it like that, then my head's going to get big.

"I'm always hearing, 'You're going to do this one day, do that one day'. If I kind of relax now, then that won't happen.

"I try not to think of it like that. I take it just one tournament at a time."

The Centre Court crowd took Gauff to their heart, even if her extended game kept another favourite Andy Murray off until Saturday.

And the American is relishing her time in the spotlight.

"I'm happy that they enjoyed watching me play," she said. "Even when I was down match point, the people in the crowd were behind me every step of the way.

"That's something I really appreciated during the match.

"I don't know, it's just crazy. I remember before I played Venus, when you walk to leave the practice courts, there are people waiting.

"One little kid asked me for a picture. Then after the next day, after I played Venus, everybody was screaming my name. It was pretty surreal how life changes in a matter of seconds."

It could have been a different story if Hercog, who was by far the better player for the opening two sets, had not sent down a double fault on match point.

"I'm sure I will be thinking about it the next days probably, hopefully as little as possible," she said.

"I had my chances. You know, it was millimetres. It was just not meant to be today.

"That's it. Not much to say after that, being a millimetre away from winning."

PA Media

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