Watch: Teen Tennis Phenom Coco Gauff talks Naomi Osaka and ‘fan-girling’ over Michelle Obama
Article By Tina Paulson // EEW Magazine // Sports
Teen tennis sensation Coco Gauff hopes “playing it cool” when she meets her celebrity fans belies the truth that she is actually “fan-girling so hard” over them.
During a Friday appearance on the “Today” show, the 15-year-old shared how she felt the first time former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama tweeted about her, calling her “terrific!”
So, how did she react?
“I was just screaming!” Gauff said in response to the world’s most admired woman’s message. No doubt, that had to be way cool.
“I never would have expected that,” she told the “Today” panel, smiling.
Gauff said this has been “the best summer ever,” despite her recent loss to #1 seed Naomi Osaka back in August.
When “Today” co-anchor Hoda Kotb asked the poised young lady, “How has your life changed since being thrust in the spotlight?” she said, “It’s changed a lot. I feel like I’m getting recognized a lot more.”
Gauff continued, “People always come up to me saying that I inspire them and that means a lot to me, and it’s really special to know that I can affect someone’s life in some way.”
The mature-beyond-her-years athlete, who seems to be navigating fame quite well, shared, “I think my parents prepared me kind of well for this—maybe because I’m the oldest, I don’t know—but I just feel like I take it day by day and just have fun, and just be myself, and whatever happens, happens.”
The famous competitor’s proud parents Corey and Candi, known for expressively cheering during matches in support of their daughter, were on the set of “Today” answering questions, too.
When Mr. Gauff, a former Florida State basketball player, was asked how he and his wife raised the sensational player to be exceptional, he didn’t take all the credit.
“I think it takes a village, so it’s not just us, it’s our parents, and everybody in the community really shows us support,” said the humble dad, who also addressed the touching moment Osaka consoled his daughter after beating her.
“When Naomi did that, [it was] just a reflection of the support we’ve seen [with] her growing up and training as well for many years,” he explained. “So we were just happy to see both of them have that moment.”
While Mrs. Gauff, previously a hurdler at Florida State, enjoys being her daughter’s cheerleader, she confessed that, “I’m looking forward to some down time and also to spend some time with my other two children.”
Watch the full interview segment on the “Today” show below: