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Coco Gauff just unveiled the latest colorway of her signature tennis shoes, the New Balance Coco CG1s. And while the trendy design is spot on as always, this time it’s the designer behind the shoes that’s grabbing the headlines.

The 18-year-old became the only women’s tennis player to have her own signature shoe when her CG1s were released during the build-up to last year’s US Open. And now, after Roger Federer’s retirement, she is currently the only active tennis player to have one. Gauff has contributed heavily to the shoe’s design process, and her ideas and sketches still inform the various colorways that have dropped since its release.

But when New Balance recently expanded the Coco CG1 line to include children’s sizes, they turned to another talented Gauff for artistic inspiration. Cameron, 9, is Coco’s youngest sibling and the family’s multi-sport artist-in-residence, and it was his drawing that would eventually become the Kid’s Coco CG1's first new colorway.

"He was really excited," Gauff told PEOPLE. "I think he kind of sensed it in a way because they asked him to draw on this shoe and then for the paper. He's young, but he kind of put two and two together," she shares.

The shoes feature the Coco CG1s signature basketball-inspired high-top design, decorated with blue and bold neon green and orange highlights. The idea came to life after New Balance product designers gifted Cameron a 'How To Make a Sneaker' book, and the nine-year-old gave them a bunch of drawings and designs in return.

"I asked him about [his design] and he said it was, 'Just what I was feeling,'” Gauff said. "I think that's just like what's fun about being a kid in general.

"As you get older, you tend to overthink things. But I feel like kids really trust their first instinct and that's kind of what he did. He just said he just thought the colors look cool together."


Gauff—in her "neon butterfly" Coco CG1s—recently made the final at the 1000-level Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Gauff—in her "neon butterfly" Coco CG1s—recently made the final at the 1000-level Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Gauff is clearly all about family, but her tight-knit clan has plans to travel to fewer WTA tournaments in the foreseeable future. During her run to the final at the 1000-level Dubai Duty Free Open last month, the world No. 6 told press that dad and former coach Corey will be staying home to support her two younger siblings as she continues to work with coach Diego Moyano.

“Now that I'm getting older, I have Diego helping me… I kind of say, you don't have to be here every week,” she explained. “It was taking a toll on the whole family in general…

“There will definitely be more tradeoffs happening this year. Also since my brother [Codey] is entering high school, he needs a dad figure. Every son needs their dad.”

Seeded No. 6 at the upcoming BNP Paribas Open, Gauff awaits the winner between qualifiers Katie Swan and Cristina Busca in the second round. She’s seeking her second WTA title of the season after her opening victory in Auckland, as well as her first WTA 1000.