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'She just had the whole package:' Tennis star Cori Gauff played Macon tournament at age 12

Donna Bailey spent 30 years serving the Macon Tennis Association, watching young players compete. One of Cori Gauff's early wins was in Macon.

MACON, Ga. — Tennis star Cori Gauff just made history. On Monday night, she beat Venus Williams in the first round at Wimbledon.  

RELATED: Gauff, just 15, shocks 5-time champ Venus, 39, at Wimbledon

At 15, she is the youngest player to win in the first round of the ladies' singles since 1991. 

"I recognized her right away. I was like, 'Well, she came through Macon,' and then when they mentioned it at the end saying she came through Macon and played through the girls 18s, I thought, 'Wow, this is so great,'" says Donna Bailey.

Bailey spent 30 years serving the Macon Tennis Association, watching young players compete across courts at John Drew Smith Tennis Center. 

She says many went on to play professionally, and one of Gauff's early wins was right here in Macon.

"Now, that was the draw. I mean, that's what got me over to watch her. I went over there and they said, 'She is winning, she is winning,' so I went and watched her play, and she is a very consistent, steady player," says Bailey. 

Gauff won the Peach State Junior Champs Girls 18 Single in Macon at only 12 years old. 

Bailey watched the entire match and presented her the trophy. 

"I remember shaking her hand. She was a very good sport, and she just had the whole package," says Bailey.

Bailey is proud of Gauff, as she watched the young talent start off her career and now defeat one of the greatest tennis players of all-time. 

"You see this great talent come from our little town and coming through our tournament, and then for them to just go further and further, it's exciting to see," says Bailey. 

Gauff is from Atlanta, but she now lives in Florida. 

RELATED: Georgia-born teen Coco Gauff qualifies for Wimbledon

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