The Difference in Paris for Coco Gauff? She Was Playing for Herself


By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday June 4 2022

Pressure has been a part of Coco Gauff’s life, even before she had her breakout Grand Slam at Wimbledon, when she reached the second week at Wimbledon as a 15-year-old.

But these days she is learning to cope with the expectations and simply play for herself.

“I think this tournament was the first tournament this year that I went in trying to win for myself, and I think that was the difference in my mentality,” she told reporters after falling to Iga Swiatek in Saturday’s Roland-Garros final. “I think that now that I have found that mental state, I know how to get there. I think it will help me in future tournaments.”

Gauff, who became the youngest Roland-Garros finalist since 2001 this week in Paris, says that her trip to the final is going to help her confidence going forward.

“I definitely feel like this helped my confidence a lot,” she said. “I just think even when I was 15, 16, 17, I felt like so much pressure to make a final. Now that I made it, I feel like a relief a little bit.”

The 18-year-old American believes that the Paris fortnight was a great learning experience.

“I feel like I learned a lot,” she said. “A lot of confidence on both sides. I mean, I know my backhand is something that everyone talks about, but really I think what got me to the final was my forehand. So I have a lot of confidence going in, and I would say this is the best I have played on both sides, forehand and backhand.

“Even my serve, you know, double faults have been a problem in the past for me, and I felt like this tournament it hasn’t been a problem really for me.”

Gauff will hope to finish the tournament on a high note. She’ll take the court for the doubles final on Sunday alongside fellow American Jessica Pegula. The pair square off with France’s Kristina Mladenovic and Caroline Garcia before the men’s final.

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