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Gauff: US Open Final Gave Me More Fire

By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Coco Gauff is more than a Top 20 player—she's a big tennis fan too.

The 17-year-old Gauff tuned into last month's US Open final and was turned on by what she saw.

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Gauff said she was both impressed and inspired watching 18-year-old Emma Raducanu defeat 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez to make history as the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam singles title.

"It was definitely inspiring for me especially since I’m younger than both of them," Gauff told the media at Indian Wells ahead of her BNP Paribas Open debut. "I think for me it just shows how much a year makes a difference and what I can hopefully do next year."

The 19th-ranked Gauff said she was most impressed by the poise and passion both Raducanu and Fernandez displayed—and the final infused her with the fire and desire to try to reach her maiden major final.

"For me it was great to see two competitors who just love the game," Gauff said. "They were both not so much in the media big before they started the tournament. Obviousy Leylah had more success on the pro tour just because she played more matches than Emma. But it was great to see how you wouldn’t even see that when watching the matches. You would think that they’d been on the stage for 20 years or 30 years or however long their opponents are playing these tournaments for.

"For me it was great to see that and also it gave me a little bit of fire to believe if they can do it then I can do it too."

Of course, Gauff made a major charge on the red clay of Roland Garros in June building a 5-3 lead over eventual-champion Barbora Krejcikova in the quarterfinals. A calm Krejcikova fought off five set points in the first set then surged through 15 straight points in the second stopping Gauff 7-6(6), 6-3 battling into her first Grand Slam single semifinal.

Tennis Express

In retrospect, Gauff says her Roland Garros quarterfinal loss was both crushing and enlightening.

"The French Open quarterfinal because that really opened my eyes that I can make it far in these Slams," Gauff said. "And obviously losing to the eventual champion, it was crushing yes, but it raised my confidence more and so I know I’m capable of making the quarterfinals of a Slam and the goal is obviously to win one.

"And so I think I should just pay attention to building on top of that and try to get whatever feeling I was feeling and try to replicate that to make it further in the Slams. That’s my goal next year to make it pretty far in the Slams and obviously the ultimate goal is to win one."

Photo credit: Getty