Coco Gauff made history as a 15-year-old player who took tennis by storm after defeating Venus Williams in straight sets at Wimbledon in 2019.
Known for her incredible serve, the teenager’s career has now reached its own break point—a transition from watching her childhood idols to actually beating them on the court. Now, with the help of technology and data analytics, she’s taking her game to the next level as she grows into her role as one of the sport’s fastest rising stars.
Elevating the game for everyone
As a professional tennis player and full-time remote student, Coco saw firsthand the ways that technology could benefit education. While completing classes alongside her rigorous training schedule, she was inspired to provide some of the same tools to students in Delray Beach, where she and her parents grew up. “This community has given me a lot, so it’s definitely important to give back,” she says.
Teaming up with Microsoft, Coco is helping to refresh the main computer lab and build two additional labs in Palm Beach County’s Achievement Centers for Children and Families (ACCF) with the donation of new devices—ensuring that their students will have updated technology available to pursue their own dreams.
Due to COVID-19 limitations, Coco used Microsoft Teams to surprise the kids from ACCF with a special event. During the event, Coco helped students complete the new Space Jam: A New Legacy coding workshop, where they learned about game design. The kids were also able to ask Coco questions to learn more about the rising star from their community, including how she became a professional tennis player and what her favorite subject is in school.
“Maybe this can give a kid the opportunity to find their own passions,” Coco said before offering advice to the students. “Make your dreams as big as possible, because you never know how far they will go.”
The hustle never stops
It takes a team effort from Coco’s entire family to help keep her on top of a demanding six-day-a-week schedule.
Coco spends two sessions a day at the tennis courts with her father, who happens to be her coach, too. There, she practices her swing and works on repetitive hitting skills to keep an upper hand on her game.
Her daily routine also includes strength and conditioning at the gym with her trainer. Balance, agility, and weight training are key components to keeping her body strong and preventing injury.
To push her training even further, Coco has partnered with Microsoft to add something new to her daily routine: data analytics. Using Microsoft technology, Coco will have an advantage against the competition and continue to push herself to the edge.
Serving up insights
For even the greatest tennis players, there’s always room for improvement. When you’re competing at the top of your game and repeating the same movements thousands of times a year, the slightest adjustment can be the difference between hitting a winning shot or suffering an injury.
Microsoft partnered with SIMI US Motion to tackle this challenge with a new suite of biometric tools that can track even Coco's subtlest movements. How exactly does this markerless tracking system work?
It uses eight high-speed cameras to determine the silhouette of Coco’s body, carefully measuring her motion—from the way her hips rotate to the exact angle of her racquet during a swing. That produces millions of data points that are processed on Microsoft Azure, enabling Coco’s coaches to discover insights that would be nearly impossible to spot with the naked eye.
Changing her game
Working with the new technology, Coco is already seeing potential ways to improve her performance on the court. Knowing her tendency to have different take backs on her forehand side, Coco can analyze the data to reveal which one works best. She’s also used the system to track her explosiveness on each side of the court, revealing new ways to improve her game.
With the addition of Microsoft technology, Coco has another powerful tool to support her training. For one of tennis’ most promising players, it’s just one more step towards becoming an all-time great.