Gauff was born on March 13, 2004, to Candi (née Odom) and Corey Gauff, both of whom are from Delray Beach, Florida. She has two younger brothers, Codey who is four years younger and Cameron who is nine years younger. Her father played college basketball at Georgia State University and later worked as a health care executive, while her mother was a track and field athlete at Florida State University and worked as an educator. Gauff initially grew up in Atlanta, and first became interested in tennis at the age of four after watching Serena Williams win the 2009 Australian Open on television with her family. Her parents encouraged her to try a wide variety of sports including basketball and track. She began playing tennis at the age of six and decided she wanted to pursue it as a career because it was an individual sport and because of her early success in winning the "Little Mo" eight-and-under nationals at the age of eight. Gauff recalled, "I wasn't much of a team person. I loved tennis. I was so-so about it in the beginning because when I was younger I didn't want to practice at all. I just wanted to play with my friends. When I turned eight, that was when I played 'Little Mo' and after that I decided to do that for the rest of my life. "