The first person Cori Gauff thanked for her win over Venus Williams was Venus Williams

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A generation of young black tennis players can play unburdened partly due to the path beaten by the Williams sisters

Twenty-two years ago in Indian Wells, a 16-year-old Venus Williams, still ranked only 211th in the world, was reeling from a brutal loss to Lindsay Davenport when she was asked about the impact she had already left on young black women in tennis. “I think that I’ve had a good effect,” she said. “Generally, you don’t see too many black people playing tennis, not on the tour, not anywhere you go really. It’s mostly because tennis is kind of an expensive sport at times … I think I’ve really helped bring it. If they see me on TV [they say]: ‘Who is this? This is Venus? She plays tennis? I’ve never seen a [black] girl playing tennis.’”

In the decades since, Williams and her sister Serena have seen a talented generation of black women players emerge, even if Venus has sometimes suffered at their hands. She has lost to Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys and Naomi Osaka in recent years. On Monday afternoon, Williams faced the latest player she has influenced, Cori Gauff. The 15-year-old promptly dismantled her 6-4, 6-4. Gauff’s story was almost too good to be true: a teenager beating her hero in her grand slam debut. Her serve is already lethal, while her hooked topspin forehand and her backhand tore through the Wimbledon grass. But the most impressive thing about Gauff was the composure and intelligence with which she carried herself to victory.

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Written by Tumaini Carayol
This news first appeared on under the title “The first person Cori Gauff thanked for her win over Venus Williams was Venus Williams”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.