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“The goal is No 1” – Coco Gauff on her mentality and ranking aspirations

Coco Gauff explains how her mentality has developed to become a weapon, and reveals her ranking aspirations after winning in the second-round of Roland-Garros

Coco Gauff Roland-Garros

Off the back of a second-round Roland-Garros victory over Julia Grabher, Coco Gauff has shared how the strength of her mentality helps the No 6 seed deal with adversity.

The teenager was made to wait more than two hours longer than expected to begin her match against Grabher, courtesy of an extended match between Jannik Sinner and Daniel Altmaier.

“I almost fell asleep in the middle of the fifth,” said Gauff. “We were all sitting in the gym waiting, and then when a set is over, you go back. I was probably 70% done with my warm-up (when the match was extended). That net cord match point was crazy.”

Gauff’s second-round win came off the back of a challenging clay court season so far, where she lost early at Rome, Madrid and Stuttgart.

Gauff overcomes tough start to Roland-Garros

Heading into Roland-Garros, world No 6 Gauff was looking somewhat vulnerable.

When she lost the first set of her opening-round match against Rebeka Masarova, things were beginning to look ominous. That is, until Gauff turned the match around.

The American has revealed that her ability to stay calm after dropping the first set of her Roland-Garros campaign was inspired by the Miami Heat’s recent exploits in the NBA Finals.

“Believe it or not, their series winning going up 3-0 and then going to 3-all really helped me in my first round because I was, like, if they’re not freaking out at Game 7, I shouldn’t freak out after losing the first set, and that’s literally what I told myself on the changeover.”

“I’m continuing to grow, and be stronger mentally”

Coco Gauff

Gauff confidently asserts that her mentality is one of the main strengths she holds as a player.

“I think for me I do feel like in matches I try to never give up in a way. Like, for example, the last couple weeks obviously haven’t gone great, and I feel like after losing that first set in the first round I could have easily thrown in the towel or thought these thoughts.

“In the past I might have done that, but I feel like now I’m continuing to grow and to be a stronger mentality.”

While Gauff’s mentality is something she’s had to work on over her short career so far, the teenager also believes she’s had a strong mental game her whole life.

“It’s something that I think I’ve always had since I was young.

“You always have to strive for better, and I think the thing about me, I’m always striving for better. I have motivations, and I think it’s a great thing most of the time.”

“The goal is No 1”: Gauff clarifies her ranking aspirations

Speaking about her motivations, Gauff is clear: it’s No 1 or nothing.

“I’m going to be honest. I’m not a ranking person at all. The goal is No 1, and I think that’s when I would care about the ranking.

“Anything in between 2 and 10, I mean, I’m going to be honest, it’s not that important to me.”

With Gauff sitting at No 6 in the world right now, the teenager has her eyes set on bigger things.

“When I made top 10, it was a cool accomplishment, but for me it was never about staying there. I only want to go upwards. The biggest goal is to win Grand Slams, and I think the ranking will come with the Grand Slams.”

Next up, Gauff will face a rare challenge – an in-form player, younger than her. 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva has taken the world by storm the past two months, winning 22 of 24 matches since turning professional in April.

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