‘I love you, you know I always say love you,’ Yvonne Odom, Coco Gauff’s grandmother, shared her Christmas heart melt message for coco Gauff

Tennis champion Coco Gauff is competing in the U.S. Open semifinal match on Thursday night, and her friends and family are cheering her on back home in Delray Beach.

“Coco to me was destined for greatness because as a little girl, she displayed that in many ways,” Yvonne Odom, Coco Gauff’s grandmother, told WPBF 25 News. “I’ve always encouraged her to speak her mind but do it in a respectful way because I’ve always done it myself.”

Odom said she is both excited and nervous ahead of her granddaughter’s game in New York.

Members of the tennis family in Delray Beach share Gauff’s impact on the community.

“She was always going to be a champion. I knew it from day one,” Jeff Bingo, general manager of Delray Beach Tennis Center, told WPBF 25 News.

Gauff had been practicing at the tennis center since she was about 7 years old.

“She knows everybody’s names who works here; she says hello to everybody,” Bingo said. “That goes a long way with not only our staff but with the residents of Delray Beach.”

The 19-year-old has become the first American teenager to reach the Final Four at the U.S. Open since Serena Williams in 2001.

Back in the day, it was Venus and Serena … I think they passed the torch, and I believe now it’s Coco’s turn,” Bingo said.

He said Gauff motivates aspiring tennis stars to reach even higher.

“You’ll see a lot of young aspiring junior girls that she’s given them a push,” he said.

And back here at home, her grandmother and loved ones want her to know that they’ll always be her number one fan.

“I love you, you know I always say love you … do your best. You know, I’ve always said because when you do your best, win or lose, you know ‘Gma’ might not care if you win another match. You already made me proud,” Odom said.