February 7, 2020
Sofia Kenin and Coco Gauff flew the American flag brilliantly in Melbourne.
Kenin’s Australian Open triumph probably surprised everyone but herself.
We were all celebrating another storming run by Coco Gauff. Then the irrepressible Kenin ended that charge – and went on to win the entire tournament.
Gauff is only 15 and already one of the most popular sports stars in the world.
No one was happy to see her beaten. But there was a wonderful consolation for patriotic Americans.
If you just love tennis and marvel at the dominance of American women at Wimbledon in the Open era, events turned out pretty well in Australia.
True, Serena’s first-week exit was a disappointment. Especially given that so many experts had made her the tournament favourite.
She’ll be back. But neither Serena nor her sister Venus can win Grand Slams forever.
So the USA needs new champions to take over.
Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys have reached Wimbledon quarter-finals without ever really hitting the heights on grass.
But Kenin and Coco Gauff look the real deal.
Can they fit the bill? They certainly have some hard acts to follow.
Billie Jean King began the extraordinary success story of American women at Wimbledon in the Open era at the end of the 1960s.
During the 1970s King, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova won seven women’s singles titles between them at Wimbledon.
After Chris Evert-Lloyd, as she was called by then, won again in 1981, Navratilova won six in a row to thrill her adopted USA.
Although the 1990s were a quieter time for American women, Navratilova won the first Wimbledon of the decade and Lindsay Davenport won the last.
Since then it has been about the Williams sisters.
In the first decade of the new millennium, they swept up eight of the ten Wimbledon women’s singles titles between them, including the five Venus still has to her name.
Serena won another four titles in the following decade.
And although neither of the Williams sisters have won the last few Wimbledons, one of them was in each of the last three finals.
This can’t continue for much longer, even though they have been truly extraordinary and added so much to Wimbledon history.
So recent events have been timely, to say the least. There is plenty to excite American tennis fans looking for the “Next Generation” to push through at Wimbledon.
How soon can Sofia Kenin and Coco Gauff make an impact at the biggest Grand Slam of them all?
Coco Gauff already has!
Her amazing run to the Wimbledon fourth round last summer thrilled the entire world.
This summer she will be a year older and a year stronger. She could go even further.
Can Coco win Wimbledon 2020? It may be another year or two before we see that kind of success.
But with Coco you can never rule anything out. She is only going to get better. And that is a wonderfully scary thought.
What about Kenin? Her record at Wimbledon hasn’t been great so far. The last two years she was knocked out in the second round.
But what happened in Melbourne may change everything.
Now Kenin knows she is capable of winning a Grand Slam. The sky is the limit for a young woman of her self-belief. On any surface.
Even this summer, we could look forward to another epic battle between Coco and Sofia. This time on Centre Court.
The rivalry could become incredibly special.
Throw the legendary Serena Williams and Venus Williams into the mix and this is a truly special time in history for the American tennis fan at the spiritual home of the sport.
When will it all result in more women’s singles titles for the USA at Wimbledon?
Hard to say. Serena always has a chance at Wimbledon.
For Gauff and Kenin, Wimbledon titles will surely come too.
Will they continue the American domination of women’s singles at Wimbledon in the Open era?
The answer is yes. One or the other. Maybe both!
All we have to do is be patient. Wimbledon titles will come.
In the meantime, it is going to be so much fun watching their relentless rise to the very top of the game.