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‘When she’s on the court, I see her as Coco Gauff, tennis professional’

In our series ‘Raising A Champion’, Corey and Candi Gauff talked about what it was taking to get their daughter Coco to the top of the game

Coco Gauff Coco Gauff celebrates after beating Sloane Stephens in the quarter-finals of 2022 Roland-Garros (Federico Pestellini/Panoramic)

“When she’s on the court I don’t see her as my daughter, I see her as a professional.”

Candi and Corey, Coco Gauff’s parents, spoke to Tennis Majors in 2020 about their child’s progress to the tennis elite – explaining they had a ten-year plan to turn her into a tennis pro, and she achieved it in eight.

“I knew that at three years old, I knew she had the special gifts and talents to be something that required a high level of discipline,” revealed her mother Candi, with dad and coach Corey adding: “She’s always been ultra-competitive from a young age.”

Now into her maiden Grand Slam semi-final on the Roland-Garros clay, one of Candi’s anecdotes seems very appropriate. She was looking back on Coco’s first-round defeat in both singles and doubles in the 2018 Australian Open, and their frustration at the effort and expense that it had taken to result only in swift losses. The Gauffs regrouped, with Corey rethinking what they were doing.

“He put another plan in place,” recalled Candi, “and she won the Roland-Garros juniors.”

The teenager’s excellent track record at the French Open may stand her in good stead as she prepares to face Martina Trevisan in the last four of this year’s women’s singles.

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