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'I see a complete player;' One of Coco Gauff's first coaches talks of her potential

AP Coco Gauff.jpeg

United States' Cori "Coco" Gauff reacts after winning a point against Slovenia's Polona Hercog in a Women's singles match during day five of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Friday, July 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

It's not everyday a 15-year-old makes it four rounds deep into Wimbledon, taking down a big name like Venus Williams. It's not everyday Dennis Murray sees 6-year-old Coco Gauff walk onto his tennis court in Delray Beach.

"I see a complete player," Murray said about Coco. "She has everything. As she gets older, she'll get stronger. I'd hate to be on the receiving end of those strokes."

Murray says she spent 40 years teaching kids tennis at Pompey Park in Delray Beach. There, he coached Coco's father, Corey, who he said could've been an athlete of any sport. One day, Corey brought in Coco and introduced her to Murray. After seeing her talent, Murray said he would advise, but encouraged Corey to be his daughter's official coach.

"She was only 10, she played this 18-year-old girl, and it was no problem," Murray recalled. He said Coco's potential and talent in unmatched to compared to anyone he's ever coached.

"She figures stuff out, fast," he said. "In tennis, you have to make split second decisions. She does it well. She can play fast, or she can slow the ball down."

Throughout his time, Murray has seen Serena and Venus Williams play a few years at Pompey Park as well. He says the sisters were considered an inspiration to young, black tennis players who wanted to chase their dreams. Coco is now continuing that trend.

"Just the other day at Paradise lounge, some people came up to me," he said. The Paradise Sports Lounge is a bar Coco's parents own and host parents for her matches. "They say 'hey, I want to get my kid into tennis also, what do I need to do?' And I said here we go again."

Coco lost her fourth match Monday morning against Simona Halep, in straight sets.




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