Coco Gauff and Venus Williams will be teaming up for the French Open this year, making their debut doubles appearance on Wednesday. The 17-year-old tennis player and the 40-year-old veteran, whom Gauff has called her idol, will play their first match against No. 13 seeds Ellen Perez and Zheng Saisai.
Earlier this month, Gauff picked up a WTA doubles win in the final at Parma playing alongside regular partner Caty McNally. The pair also made it to the quarterfinals at both the 2020 and 2021 Australian Opens.
However, while the pair have a proven recipe of success, McNally will be unable to play alongside Gauff at the French Open as she was injured during a qualifying round.
Although Gauff and Williams are new to being teammates, they have competed against each other in the past.
Gauff has won their previous face-offs at the 2020 Australian Open and at Wimbledon in 2019 — when the teenager not only beat her idol, but also became the youngest player since 1991 to win in the first round of the ladies’ singles at Wimbledon.
“I told her thank you for everything that you did. I wouldn’t be here without you,” Gauff told reporters at the time of the conversation she and Williams had after the match. “I always wanted to tell her that.”
Throughout her career, Williams has picked up 14 doubles Grand Slam titles, all of which she won with her sister Serena Williams. Additionally, the siblings have won an impressive three Olympic doubles championships.
Williams and Gauff will also be competing in the singles tournament.