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Gauff, after loss to Potapova – “I just didn’t play how I wanted to”
After a disappointing loss to Anastasia Potapova on Saturday, Coco Gauff was critical of her approach and vowed to change her passive mentality.
Coco Gauff has had a solid start to the 2023 season, but the current world No 6 is not about to settle for solid. After falling in three sets to Russia’s Anastasia Potapova on Saturday at the Miami Open, Gauff was critical of her tactics and told reporters that she needs to change her mentality if she wants to continue rising up the rankings.
“I got myself out of a lot of tough moments in the match,” Gauff said of the 6-7(8), 7-5, 6-2 defeat to the 27th-seeded Russian. “I think that I didn’t play. Even when I won the first, was up in the second, I didn’t get there by the way I should have been playing.”
Gauff – that’s where I’ve been messing up in all my matches this year
Gauff immediately turned a critical eye to her perceived lack of aggression against Potapova. She says she relied too heavily on her defense and not enough on playing first-strike tennis.
All the players that are doing well now on tour are big hitters. It’s not like I don’t have the tools to hit big, because I definitely do, I think it’s just more so making that the first decision.— Coco Gauff
“I felt like, I don’t know, I just didn’t play how I wanted to today,” she said. “Really where I got in the match was because of my mentality but not because of the game. I think that’s kind of been where I’ve been messing up in all my matches this year. All the ones I’ve lost I think I lost because of that. I think it should be more used as a tool in a toolbox than as a weapon.”
Gauff, who led 5-3 in the second set against Potapova today, says she needs to change her mentality and start thinking more about being aggressive and using her weapons to dictate.
“I think I have to change my mentality in the game about not relying on that too much because I think sometimes I play a little bit too passive because I know I can get to balls,” she said. “All the players that are doing well now on tour are big hitters. It’s not like I don’t have the tools to hit big, because I definitely do, I think it’s just more so making that the first decision.”
Gauff said that she needs to start stepping into the court and taking charge – something that she didn’t seem to want to do on Saturday.
“I think where I messed up was more on the positioning. I feel like I was really lazy on the positioning,” she said. “I think that’s something I have to work on.”
“Physically I feel I’m one of the best on tour”
The 19-year-old certainly has time on her side. And she’s clearly done quite well on tour, even when she has elected to rely on defense. You don’t get to a Roland-Garros final and hit No 4 in the world as an 18-year-old if you don’t have an abundance of talent and the tools to make a great career in the sport.
Having a look-in-the-mirror moment might not be the worst thing for Gauff at this stage of her season – and career.
She already knows she can run the court with the best of them. Now she just has to work on her tactics and weapons so that she can balance out her attack.
Part of the struggle is keeping focused on the challenge at hand.
“In the last couple matches, even the ones that I’ve won, I would say, especially in Indian Wells, there were some drops in the match,” she said. “I think I have to recognize those drops and be able to combat them. It’s not a physical thing ’cause physically I feel like I’m one of the best on tour. I think it’s more of a mental thing, being engaged in the match.”