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Coco Gauff Is Trending In The Right Direction

Aug 5th 2023

It is easy to forget that Coco Gauff is just 19 years old given that she has been a fixture on the tour for some time. It is also easy to forget that she is still developing and defining her game, and even going through growing pains.

A recent one of those pains was her first-round loss at Wimbledon last month. But give credit to Gauff, she could have easily gone down the hole of negativity which so often causes more struggles to pile up on a player’s shoulders. Instead, she has chosen to be positive, enjoy the moments, and dare I say – have fun.

A much lighter Gauff has appeared at the Mubadala City DC Open, where the Florida native has advanced to Sunday’s final. Perhaps some of this change in direction comes from her new coach Pere Riba, who will be with her through the US Open. But it seems that much of her light-hearted attitude comes from her consultant this week - none other than Brad Gilbert. The former coach to champions Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick simply advised Gauff to have more fun.

Credit: Mike Lawrence/Mubadala DC Citi Open

Even with Brad, he’s like, ‘I want you to smile at the box sometimes and talk to us,’” Gauff said. “I really want to have fun playing tennis, and I think I lost that for a little bit. But I’m really finding it.”

She has certainly found it on the court as she rolled through her semifinal match against defending champion Liudmila Samsonova 6-3, 6-3. She will play ninth-ranked Maria Sakkari in Sunday’s final.

The new-look Gauff has yet to drop a set in this year’s Mubadala City DC Open. But she will have her hands full against Sakkari who has a 4-1 head-to-head record against the American. Sakkari defeated fourth-ranked Jessica Pegula, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 to set up the matchup.

With the US Open beginning at the end of the month, Gauff appears to have found something she can build on to perhaps make a run in New York.

I feel like I have the foundation in my game. Now it’s building around that. It’s building the house, essentially,” Gauff said. “I have the land and I need to build the house on top of it, make it as extravagant and big and pretty as possible.”

Perhaps enjoying tennis again and having fun, added to this foundation, is just the recipe for her success.