all scores

Coco Gauff says her ‘only regret’ in life is not playing Serena Williams

Coco Gauff advanced to her first US Open final with a win Thursday against Karolina Muchova. (Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Coco Gauff has one regret that she may never be able to get over.

The 19-year-old made her first US Open final with a straight-sets win over Karolina Muchova, becoming the youngest American to reach the final at the Grand Slam since Serena Williams did it in 1999 at age 17. Williams went on to win the first of her 23 major singles titles.

So it seems a little bit like fate that, one year after Williams retired at the US Open, another American is following in her footsteps. Gauff became the first American teenager to reach the US Open semifinals since Williams in 2001.

And both Gauff and U.S. men’s player Ben Shelton, 20, have made more history. This year marked the first time multiple Americans aged 20 or younger have made it to the semifinals of the same Grand Slam since Venus and Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2000.

Yet while some might see Gauff as the face and the future of American tennis, she is in excellent company. At this year’s US Open, multiple Americans have made deep runs — including 28-year-old Madison Keys, who lost to Aryna Sabalenka in the other semifinal.

“I don’t think I’m carrying American tennis. I don’t think I will,” Gauff told ESPN. “We have so many compatriots who are doing well.

“Serena is Serena. She’s the GOAT. I’d hope to do half of what she did. But I’m not gonna compare myself to her. She’s someone I look up to. Being in the same stat line as her means a lot to me. She’s my idol.”

Still, Gauff – who never once played against Williams professionally – has just one regret.

“The only regret I’ll have for the rest of my life is not being able to play her,” she said. “There were so many tournaments where if we won an extra round and didn’t lose, I would’ve played her. I’m still happy to just be a product of her legacy.”