WTA Age Restriction Will Limit Gauff's Visibility For Time Being
Now that Coco Gauff's run into Wimbeldon's Round of 16 has ended with a loss to Simona Halep, the 15-year-old "can't exactly just play in whatever event she wants" on the WTA calendar, according to D'Arcy Maine of ESPN.com. Despite Gauff's "soon-to-be massive jump in the rankings, and tournaments surely wanting to grant her a wild card due to her sudden popularity, the WTA's age restriction policy will severely limit the amount of tournaments she can play in." The WTA has already "relaxed its rules slightly for her, and she can now play in 12, as a result of her exceptional play at the junior level, with the possibility of two additional tournaments." Since her birthday in March, she has played in eight events, including Wimbledon. Consequently, she will "need to be somewhat choosy about which events she plays over the next several months until she turns 16." Gauff hopes to "play in at least one of the US Open Series hard-court events." She will "ultimately need a wild card to play in the main draw in Flushing Meadows, or she could potentially earn her way in through qualifying" (ESPN.com, 7/8).
WELCOME TO THE WORLD: In N.Y., Christopher Clarey writes Gauff was "catnip at Wimbledon, emerging at a moment when the women’s game is in fascinating flux and Serena Williams, at 37, is much closer to the end than the beginning." It is "more understandable than usual to wonder what comes next." Still, Gauff "achieved plenty right here in the moment at her first Grand Slam singles tournament" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/9). In DC, Liz Clarke notes Gauff’s Instagram followers since Wimbledon began have "rocketed from 20,000 to 352,000, and shout-outs from celebrities poured in -- including two from former first lady Michelle Obama, the teen’s longtime role model." Yesterday at the All England Club, "Coco-mania was rampant," with crowds "returning to the grassy hill to watch" her match against Halep (WASHINGTON POST, 7/9).
NEXT BIG THING? In Miami, Greg Cote writes Gauff's dream "didn’t end" with yesterday's loss. Rather, "you get the feeling it was a dream deferred." Sports "need personalities like hers," and American tennis has been "looking for its next big star for a long, long time." Gauff is "inviting the Next Serena stuff and indicated in this Wimbledon run that the notion might not be absurd" (MIAMI HERALD, 7/9). THE GLOBE & MAIL's Cathal Kelly writes Gauff is "interesting," and women’s tennis "could use a little of that." As Serena Williams "ages out of the game, it is getting hard not to notice there is no one to replace her in that regard." There is "no outsize personality to occupy the enormous imaginative space Williams has taken up in the women’s game for the past 15 years." If the actors have "no charisma, it doesn’t matter how well the play is staged." It is "not going to move you." Gauff has it "all in this regard" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/9).