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Analysis: Coco Gauff’s Washington title shows she is ready to contend at the US Open

by Gabriel Martinez
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Coco Gauff, the 19-year-old tennis player from Florida, expressed fatigue over the frequent speculation regarding flaws in her forehand. She even joked about fans suggesting that trimming her nails might improve her game, a theory she dismissed with humor. However, what actually helped her get back to winning was practical advice from her new full-time coach, Pere Riba, and temporary consultant, Brad Gilbert.

By following their instructions, she secured a trophy at the DC Open on hard court, highlighting her readiness to compete in the U.S. Open, scheduled to begin in three weeks. Riba and Gilbert’s insights were fundamental in her victory, with Riba suggesting adjustments to her footwork, and Gilbert emphasizing the importance of taking time between points.

Gauff, reflecting on her approach, emphasized the value of time and how taking a moment to think about her serve significantly improved her performance. Her application of this guidance became apparent during her 6-2, 6-3 win against Maria Sakkari in the Sunday’s final, where she demonstrated calm and thoughtful play.

Her willingness to adapt, learn, and make changes is a standout characteristic of Gauff’s game, according to Riba. Her backhand remains formidable, and her defense, along with her ability to analyze matches, is a key strength. Even her previously critiqued forehand is showing progress, as noticed by her opponents like Sakkari.

Sakkari, who has consistently ranked in the Top 10, praised Gauff as a “top player,” dismissing any suggestion that her success was fleeting or limited to her early years. The young tennis star’s victories, including significant performances at Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the French Open, indicate that she is poised for continued success, as her skills and strategic game continue to evolve.

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What contributed to Coco Gauff’s recent success at the DC Open?

Coco Gauff’s success at the DC Open can be attributed to her willingness to adapt and improve, as well as the guidance and advice from her new full-time coach, Pere Riba, and temporary consultant, Brad Gilbert. They helped her with altering footwork and taking more time between points.

What was the specific advice Gauff received about her game?

She received advice on altering her footwork for better positioning on forehands, not feeling the need to be right on the baseline to take the ball early, and taking more time between points to reset and think about her serve.

Has Coco Gauff’s forehand improved?

Yes, according to both Gauff and her recent opponent Maria Sakkari, her forehand has progressed and is no longer a liability in her game. This improvement was evident in her victory at the DC Open.

What are some of Coco Gauff’s key strengths on the court?

Gauff’s key strengths include her dangerous backhand, strong serve, ability to cover the entire court defensively, and her mental capacity to read and analyze matches well.

Is Coco Gauff considered a top player by her peers?

Yes, her opponent Maria Sakkari, who has been in the Top 10 every week since September 2021, referred to Gauff as a “top player.” Sakkari also emphasized that Gauff’s success was not a one-time phenomenon and that the hype surrounding her was warranted.

What are the next major events for Coco Gauff?

The next major event for Coco Gauff is the U.S. Open, where she is expected to contend, as evidenced by her victory at the hard-court DC Open and her readiness to compete at a high level.

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