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Gauff on Maturity and Ons Jabeur Family Ties

Coco Gauff loves pasta, but isn't one to feast on past success.

So Gauff skipped the gelato after her 6-2, 6-4 sweep of compatriot Madison Brengle in Rome in favor of some practical preparation.

Watch: Shapovalov Screams At Fans "Shut The F--k Up!"

The 18-year-old American hit the practice court to gear up for her Rome rematch vs. fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari.

"I think for me, it's just because I'm playing Sakkari tomorrow. They hit the ball completely different so I needed some more pace," Gauff said of her post-victory practice session. "Also sometimes I just like hitting some balls after the match because, you know, not every match, even though you might win, you might not always feel good. I try to end on something that makes you feel good."

Tennis Express

These days, the 15th-ranked Gauff feels she's managing massive external expectations by reminding herself why she plays pro tennis: for herself.

"I would definitely say expectations definitely affected me a little bit," Gauff said. "I mean, I feel like it's hard not to want to do well and meet everybody's expectations. But I always have to remind myself that I play for me and me only.

"Yeah, I think maturity-wise, I feel like I still have a lot of maturing to do. I would say I made quite a bit of maturing since three years ago when I first started."

Embed from Getty Images

Gauff, who beat Ons Jabeur en route to the 2021 Roland Garros quarterfinals, shared her family ties to Madrid champion Jabeur. Coco's younger brother, Codey Gauff, is a huge Jabeur fan who not only mimics her drop shot he's nicknamed himself after the Tunisian Trailblazer dubbing himself the "Black Ons Jabeur."

"I think Ons Jabeur, I hope outside of me, is his favorite player," Coco Gauff said. "I have two brothers. The youngest is eight. I don't know who his favorite player is. The other is 14. He plays baseball, doesn't play tennis. He calls himself the Black Ons Jabeur.

"He doesn't play tennis, but when he does, he always goes for dropshots. He calls it the 'snake ball'. When I played her a couple times, You got to watch out for that snake ball."

Photo credit: Getty