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“Definitely I feel like I can go far in slams” Coco Gauff says mental improvement key to next step

Having just turned 18 years old and now a member of the world’s top 20, Coco Gauff is through to the third round of the Miami Open and says she is ready go deep in a Slam

Coco Gauff (USA) hits a shot in her third round match against Simona Halep (ROU) at the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Coco Gauff (USA) hits a shot in her third round match against Simona Halep (ROU) at the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Miami Open 2022Women’s Singles Draw | Results Order of Play

American teen Coco Gauff, who celebrated her 18th birthday just a couple of weeks ago, believes she has what it takes to go far in the Grand Slams but needs to improve her mental toughness in order to get to the next level.

On Friday, Gauff advanced to the third round at the prestigious WTA Miami Open, beating China’s Wang Qiang 7-5, 6-4, avenging a loss to the Chinese player at this year’s Australian Open.

While Gauff has managed to entrench herself in the top 20 of the world rankings, she is yet to win a big title or make a deep run at one of the Grand Slams – something that many expected her to have accomplished by now after her stunning breakthrough at Wimbledon in 2019 as a 15-year-old qualifier who went on to reach the fourth round. Her best performance so far at a Major has been a quarter-final finish at the French Open last year.

The American believes she has the game to win a Grand Slam but needs to improve her mentality in order to breakthrough to the next level.

“I feel like for me, definitely I feel like I can go far in slams. For me I think it’s more of a mental thing, when am I mentally matured enough to win one. I feel like I have all the physical attributes and the game and everything. I think that’s kind of like a lot of players on the tour, we are all pretty physically fit. We all have big serves or big forehands or some type of weapon that helps us win matches.

“I think what really sets the other players, Grand Slam champions apart from the rest is probably their mentality. I’m hoping and have been working on trying to be mentally mature to make it far in slams and hopefully win one.”

“I feel it’s more important for whatever is going on with that player for them to take time for themselves.” – Coco Gauff

With the sudden retirement of world No 1 Ash Barty earlier this week and the struggles of several other big names in the women’s game, Gauff said it was no longer considered a taboo to take a break from playing due to physical or mental issues.

“I feel like everybody is dealing with something. For me, I think it’s more important for whatever is going on with that player for them to take time for themselves. I feel like there is more of a, not movement, but kind of people are okay with taking time for themselves, and I think that’s great. I think that as an athlete, we shouldn’t always have to be, to play, play, play, even if we don’t feel 100% mentally or physically. So I think about the game I think that just tells that more athletes and more tennis players I should say are okay with maybe taking some time off for themselves and focusing on themselves. In the future, they will come back stronger.”

With the Williams sisters having not played at all this year, the retirement of Barty and the struggles of some marquee names in the women’s game, Gauff said she believes there is a shift towards younger players on the men’s and women’s tour.

“I would say definitely the game is going through kind of a shift right now, both sides, women and male side of young players coming up. So I would say there is definitely a generational shift happening right now. Yeah, I’m glad that I’m a part of it.”

14th seeded Gauff, one of only 11 seeds to reach the third round in Miami, will next meet another Chinese player Shuai Zhang for a place in the round of 16. A deep run in her home event will surely go a long way setting herself up as a contender at the Grand Slams later this year.

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