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Coco Gauff: Welcome to the Future

Last Updated: July 20, 2023
After reaching the French Open final, 18-year-old American phenom Coco Gauff discusses her new NFT collection and balancing life off the court.

The day before the French Open began, tennis phenom Coco Gauff celebrated graduating high school by posing for photos in front of the Eiffel Tower.

When she’s home in Florida, the 18-year-old Georgia native likes to hang with her friends and do what she called “normal teenage stuff.”

“Obviously, that is harder when I am on tour,” Gauff told Boardroom this week, in the understatement of the month. “On tour, I like to listen to music, explore the city I’m in, make TikToks, and watch Netflix. “

After entering Roland Garros as the 18th seed, Coco advanced all the way to the final before falling to top seed Iga Swiatek. If that wasn’t enough, Gauff made the final in women’s doubles as well, teaming with Jessica Pegula and coming one set short of her first grand slam title. Her excellence in France saw Coco climb to No. 13 in the WTA rankings in singles and No. 5 in doubles ahead of the start of Wimbledon later this month.

Just after her deepest major tournament run, the very first Coco Gauff NFT collection arrived at the Autograph platform this week as part of its “The Future Is…” collection with pieces entitled Make a Racquet, Change the World, and Make an Impact — all minted on the Polygon blockchain. The latter two were hand-signed by the tennis superstar, with anyone who purchases one of the NFTs by June 14 receiving access to a social media Q&A with Gauff, where a vote will be held to decide on an outfit she’ll wear in a tournament this summer. Those who buy all three of Coco Gauff NFT offerings receive a signed print and gift card and tickets to watch her live at a future event.

“I’m excited to see this campaign speak to our younger Gen Z fan bases as it focuses on creating an accessible pathway to the Web3 world for this next generation,” Gauff said, joining Sabrina Ionescu, Devin Booker, Justin Herbert, and Collin Morikawa as part of the Autograph initiative. “I haven’t met them all yet, but I follow them on Instagram and try my best to pay attention to how they’re doing in their respective sports. They are all great and I can’t wait to meet them one day.”

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Gauff got to collaborate with Autograph to create these three distinct digital works of art, teaming up with UK-based illustrator Alice Bloomfield to bring her superhero-inspired concepts to life.

“My collection is designed to inspire, and I can only hope that my tennis career is making an impact and changing the world of tennis,” Gauff said. “I always tell my fans to dream big, and it is something I really live by. I think the names that we have chosen for my NFTs are a reflection of that, and the goals I want to accomplish.”

Autograph is just one of a growing list of off-court ventures for Gauff, whose endorsements include Head, Barilla, New Balance, and American Eagle.

Gauff launched a collection with New Balance last year prior to the U.S. Open, and she said the ideas the clothing companies bring always speak to her. She’s appreciative of and grateful for all the moving parts and different departments that need to work together to bring a campaign to fruition. She also said to look out for another New Balance activation prior to this year’s Open.

When it comes to looking for new partners on the business and investing side, Gauff wants to continue to align herself with partners that share her values and allow her to be part of the decision-making process. She called her partners very supportive, as are her family and team around her who are especially helpful when it comes to demands off the court. Those are some wise and mature words from someone who graduated high school three weeks ago.

Right now, Gauff is focused on finishing off the grass court season in the U.K. and Europe over the next month before getting back to the U.S. and resting up for the hard court season. She’s excited to come home and play in front of American fans.

When it comes to this inaugural Coco Gauff NFT collection, the phenom herself said she’s excited for her younger fans to engage in the world of Web3 and to get involved in helping shape the digital future.

“The world is changing,” she said. “I’m excited to be part of this next generation that is helping lead the charge.”   

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About The Author
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung
Shlomo Sprung is a Senior Staff Writer at Boardroom. He has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with past work appearing in Forbes, MLB.com, Awful Announcing, and The Sporting News. He graduated from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 2011, and his Twitter and Spotify addictions are well under control. Just ask him.