“She’s gone through a lot of pressure” – ahead of their first meeting, Coco Gauff acknowledges the differences between herself and Emma Raducanu

Ahead of their first-time meeting, Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu had lots to say about each other in press.

Australian Open Coco Gauff Australian Open Coco Gauff || AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Coco Gauff was just 16 when she watched Emma Raducanu – then 18 – storm to the US Open title in 2021, straight from qualifying. The accomplishment sent the tennis world on fire, and Gauff, already heralded and beset with high expectations, has an appreciation for just how life-changing Raducanu’s New York minute must have been.

Gauff – probably more pressure than I’m used to

“Obviously she’s gone through a lot of pressure, bursting onto the scene,” Gauff told reporters after her Day 1 victory over Katerina Siniakova in Melbourne. “Probably more than I have experienced coming to win a slam. And especially being from the UK, being like the first British person to [win a Slam] in a long time, probably is a lot more pressure than what I’m used to being as an American.

“Serena is retired now, but she was always the American that people looked to. … I definitely can relate to bursting onto the scene and dealing with some pressure but I don’t think to that level.”

Raducanu and Gauff have never shared a practice court, let alone the match court, but they’ve become friends on tour over the years. Gauff has always credited Raducanu for inspiring her, showing her that the door is open for opportunistic young players to walk through at the Slams.

“Obviously she’s gone through a lot of pressure, bursting onto the scene. Probably more than I have experienced…

Coco Gauff

“It definitely shows that we’re not too far off,” Gauff said at the US Open, while Raducanu was in the midst of her run in New York in 2021. “But I will say that I think both of us have that belief regardless of other people’s success. I think we have been believing we can win.” 

Coco Gauff, US Open 2022
Coco Gauff, US Open 2022 | © Imago/Panoramic

Raducanu on Gauff – “She’s a great athlete with some big weapons”

Raducanu, who defeated Tamara Korpatsch 6-3 6-2 on Day 1, knows she’ll have her hands full with Gauff, who is coming off a season that saw her reach her first major final and crack the top-10.

“I’m really looking forward to this match. I’m very up for it.

Emma Raducanu

“I think she’s a great athlete,” Raducanu said. “When she first came at Wimbledon, I think after that, took her a little bit to adjust as well, but then she definitely found her feet. She’s playing really good tennis and looking really solid right now.

“She’s a great athlete with some big weapons. It’s going to be a tough opponent. I’m looking forward to the occasion.”

Emma Raducanu
AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Raducanu has been mired in a sort of upheaval since her moment at the US Open. She has dropped back in the rankings and struggled mightily with injuries. Her appearance at this Australian Open was thrust into doubt as well, when she picked up an ankle injury at Auckland in the first week of the season.

It is taken the 20-year-old time to get fit, but here she is…

A win over Gauff on a Grand Slam stage could be a tone-changer not just for her season but for her career. Regardless, this first-time meeting is one that both players see as a great showcase for the next generation of WTA talent.

Part of the next generation of tennis

“I’m really looking forward to this match. I’m very up for it,” Raducanu said. “Coco has obviously done a lot of great things and she’s playing well. I’m just looking forward to the matchup. I think we’re both good, young players, we’re both coming through. Part of the next generation of tennis really. It’s going to be a great match.”

“I never practiced with her,” Gauff said. “I have obviously watched her play, especially during the US Open run, and I think for a really aggressive player, she likes to step in on the returns.

“I’m just going to have to be ready and accept some return winners that might come my way. I think for the most part, just continuing to play my game and focus on my end of the court. I think it will be a good matchup for both of us. I’m excited.”

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