The last week may seem like a whirlwind for fans of Cori “Coco” Gauff, the 18-year-old American tennis star who is currently ranked 13th in the world, according to the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Ranking.
Last week, Gauff competed for her first Grand Slam title, at the 2022 French Open. Gauff battled World No.1 Iga Swiatek of Poland and lost to the two-time French Open winner, 6 -1 and 6-3, in two sets.
But the excitement continues for the Delray Beach, Florida right-hander as Autograph announces the launch of a new Coco Gauff NFT series that hit stores June 7.
Co-founded by Tom Brady and based in Los Angeles, the NFT Autograph platform was founded to bring the most legendary names in sports, entertainment and culture to digital. Some of Autograph’s other recent releases include such big names as Derek Jeter, Simone Biles, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and the Olympic sprint legend. Usain Bolt.
Gauff’s line is part of the latter”drops”—made up of younger athletes like fellow tennis star Sabrina Ionescu, PGA Tour golfer Collin Morikawa, NFL quarterback Justin Herbert and NBA star Devin Booker.
While throwing an NFT might seem like “next thing” for any high-level athlete, Gauff wanted to make sure her Autograph NFT showed her personality and appreciation for all the people (coaches, family, and even fans) who have been with her. on her journey.
“I love connecting with my fans, especially my younger fan base,” Gauff told me this week. “I wanted my collection to be as colorful, fun and true to my passions as possible.”
So for fans of the rising tennis star, there’s something extra. Autograph said this week that holders of any Gauff NFTs of “The future is…Collection purchased before June 14 will receive access to a social media Q&A with Gauff herself. Fans will also have the opportunity to discuss Gauff’s on-court style and vote on his outfit for an upcoming tournament this summer.
Yesterday, I connected with Gauff for a short Q&A session, in which the two-time singles title winner discussed her meteoric rise in tennis, her training, and why her fans and supporters are so important to her.
Andy Frye: You’ve had an impressive WTA career so far and you’re only 18 years old. How have you grown as a player or changed your game (if at all) over the last two years?
Coco Gauff: I have learned not to focus so much on the results and to disconnect from external pressures. It has taken me a lot of work and I am still growing and learning how to do it, but focusing on the process, trying to relax as much as possible and having fun has always produced some of my best tennis.
AF: Playing at your level is not for the faint of heart. Any secrets or ideas on how to focus and get through tough times on the pitch?
Gauff: My family. They are my rock. Without them, none of this would be possible, so they really keep me grounded. When I’m home, I love going to my little brothers’ sporting events and rooting for them. I also love tennis and when you love something, it’s easy to stay focused and keep working towards your dreams, even when times get tough.
VIDEO: Coco Gauff gets “warm and furry” inside the tennis ball
AF: It seems like all the top athletes are doing NFTs now. But yours seems to be more playful and tastes different.
How is your personality displayed within your NFT line?
Gauff: The Autograph team really allowed our next generation group of athletes to express themselves in the collection and worked with us to ensure that our personalities shine through in our collections. So you will see some inspiration taken from anime and superheroes that were used to create the art for my NFTs.
AF: You are a role model for many young people, but you are still young. What is it like to connect with fans as a teenager?
Gauff: I always tell them to dream big because it’s something I live for. I never thought he would be in my position, and it really can happen to anyone if he is willing to work hard and set goals. It means a lot to me when someone tells me that they picked up a tennis racket because of me or tried something new because of me.
Read Andy Frye’s recent interviews with Mookie Betts and Lindsey Vonn