Amidst the shift to the European red clay season in 2022, Coco Gauff, the dynamic 19-year-old tennis sensation faced a series of setbacks that left her questioning her path to greatness. Yet, it was during these challenging moments that she and her father, Corey Gauff, orchestrated a remarkable transformation, leading her to her first grand slam title at the US Open. This is the inspiring story of how Coco Gauff and her father plotted her route to US Open glory.
A Period of Struggles:
As the WTA tour transitioned to the red clay season in 2022, Gauff, who had previously showcased her prowess on this surface, found herself struggling. Early defeats and a bitter loss to Paula Badosa in Madrid took a toll on her confidence. In the midst of these challenges, Gauff candidly admitted that her mental fortitude had waned, leading to a devastating 6-3, 6-0 defeat.
Determined to bounce back, Gauff embarked on a journey of self-improvement, seeking a change that would reignite her competitive fire. She scoured the tennis world for potential coaches, all while grappling with a string of losses, including a disappointing first-round exit at Wimbledon.
The Role of Her Father:
Central to Coco Gauff’s journey to success is the unwavering support and guidance of her father, Corey Gauff. Together with her mother, Candi, the Gauffs raised an intelligent, resilient, and eloquent daughter, equipping her with a powerful inner belief that has helped her navigate the challenges of teenage fame with grace. Corey Gauff, as her primary coach, has played an instrumental role in nurturing one of the most promising talents in the tennis world.
In tennis, parent-coaching relationships vary, with some players finding success with their parents as coaches throughout their careers. However, for many, there comes a critical juncture where external expertise becomes essential. Corey Gauff recognized this pivotal moment in his daughter’s career and made a decisive choice that would shape her trajectory.
A Crucial Decision:
In 2022, Corey Gauff made a pivotal decision that would alter the course of Coco’s career. Realizing that it was time to take a step back, he orchestrated a transformative shift by bringing in two seasoned coaches, Pere Riba and Brad Gilbert. Coco acknowledges her father’s pivotal role in this transition, describing him as the captain who initiated the change.
Brad Gilbert, a coach from a different generation, brought a fresh perspective to Coco’s game. However, his influence extended beyond technical aspects. He emphasized the importance of enjoying her time on the tour and embracing the life she leads. While Coco had always displayed remarkable self-assuredness for her age, her attitude, outlook, and confidence underwent a significant transformation during that summer.
The US Open Triumph:
Coco Gauff’s journey to the US Open victory was a testament to her newfound confidence and resilience. Throughout the tournament, she faced numerous challenges, often coming from a set down. However, her problem-solving abilities and adaptability shone through as she navigated her way to the final.
In the championship match against Aryna Sabalenka, known for her powerful ball striking, Gauff employed her incredible defensive skills, frustrating her opponent with her ability to chase down seemingly unreachable balls. It was a demonstration of her existing strengths rather than a radical transformation of her game.
A Grand Slam Champion and Beyond:
Coco Gauff’s triumph at the US Open catapulted her to the elite ranks of tennis. At just 19, she not only secured her first grand slam title but also ascended to the world No. 3 ranking. Her remarkable journey isn’t confined to singles; she was on the path to regaining the No. 1 ranking in doubles alongside her partner, Jessica Pegula.
As Coco leaves New York, she is acutely aware of the ample room for growth and development in her game. This victory is just the beginning of what promises to be a storied career. With her father’s unwavering support and the guidance of her new coaches, Coco Gauff is poised to continue making waves in the tennis world, inspiring generations to come with her determination and resilience.