Coco Gauff has been told that she could help tennis go global by being one of the sport’s major “commercial engines”. Australian Open boss Craig Tiley is happy to see the success of so many American players like Gauff and claims they can attract a bigger market. And he named Gauff alongside Carlos Alcaraz as the future stars who could be the “heir apparent” following the era of the Williams sisters and the Big Three.
Gauff has long been tipped for big things after making a breakthrough at Wimbledon when she was just 15 years old. The American has become a solid top-10 player and recently achieved her biggest feat, winning her maiden Grand Slam title on home soil at the US Open.
Now sitting at No 3 in the world, the teenager is joined by plenty of talented Americans in the WTA rankings including world No 5 Jessica Pegula and 11th-ranked Madison Keys. And the Australian Open tournament director believes that the success of American women – especially Gauff – could change tennis by helping the sport reach a huge global audience.
“Well, look, we have been fortunate. We came through an era of having great champions, American champions. We have the US players reaching the highest levels of the game,” Tiley said. “That’s why Coco Gauff is going to be so great for the sport.
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“It is the commercial engine of the sport globally. So, I think that’s great for the sport, having more of that. I do see some light at the end of the tunnel with that.” While Iga Swiatek has become the dominant force of women’s tennis and Aryna Sabalenka is currently the world No 1, Tiley thinks that the European players can’t reach the same market.
He added: “That’s no disrespect, there is a lot of great European players, but the market in the US is just so much bigger, and I think that’s good for the sport globally.” Tiley’s comments come as the tennis landscape is making a shift, with Serena Williams and Roger Federer retiring last year.
Venus Williams and Rafael Nadal have barely played due to injury issues. It has left Novak Djokovic as the only player from their dominant era to continue winning Grand Slam titles. But the Australian Open boss thinks there are plenty of players ready to take over – especially Gauff and Alcaraz.
“On the men’s side and the women’s side, there’s quite a lot. There are some that are starting to stake their claim as being the heir apparent to that,” he explained. “I think Coco and Carlos are the two that are probably ahead of the pack in that. But the pack is broad, which is great.”
Like Gauff, Alcaraz won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open as a 19-year-old. When the Spaniard lifted the trophy in 2022, he also became the youngest world No 1 in ATP history. And he has already been able to win another Major this season, ending Novak Djokovic’s reign at Wimbledon. Alcaraz became the first man outside of the Big Four to lift the trophy at SW19 since 2002 and the first man in a decade to beat Djokovic on Centre Court when he won a thrilling five-set final