Misc Tennis

Coco Gauff column: Winning a Grand Slam in 2023 is my biggest ambition

Coco Gauff column for BBC Sport

Coco Gauff, who shot to fame by reaching the Wimbledon last 16 as a 15-year-old in 2019, is the latest leading WTA Tour player to write a BBC Sport column.

In her first piece at the Australian Open, the American seventh seed discusses her hopes for 2023.

Starting another season as an established pro feels pretty weird. I’m still only 18 but I don’t feel like the new kid any more.

I feel I’m ready to leave behind the tag of ‘teenage phenomenon’. Now it is time to be known as a Grand Slam champion.

I feel like all the players still call me a baby, and usually I’m still one of the youngest in the draw, but I’ve been around for a while.

My main ambition for 2023 is winning a Grand Slam title. That’s the biggest goal.

It is something I have chased for my whole life and I came so close last year by reaching the French Open final. If winning a major doesn’t happen this year, I will continue to chase this dream.

Last season was great for me. I broke into the top five of the world rankings in both the singles and doubles, as well as reaching both finals at Roland Garros.

Even though I lost in the singles to Iga Swiatek, it gave me a lot of confidence in my game and myself.

I know I can win a Grand Slam title. Now it is about making the final step.

I just need to fine-tune some details and I worked hard in pre-season to do that. I really think that I had probably one of the best off-seasons I have had.

It was a lot of hard work, a lot of long days. But I’ve improved my game a lot.

One of my other goals was to win a WTA Tour title – I didn’t do that last year – and I have already that checked off by winning in Aucklandexternal-link last week.

The signs are good and hopefully this success continues throughout the season.

How I’ve learned to play every major final like it’s the last

In the moments after I lost to Iga at Roland Garros, I hid beneath my towel and cried.

When you’re in a match, you don’t feel it is over until it is over. Then all the emotion hits you.

Although I was losing for the majority of the time in the match, I still felt I had a chance until the end. Actually, it was almost a relief when it was over.

There was a lot of pressure building up to that and I was the most nervous I have been for a match in my life.

Everybody says you don’t know how you’re going to feel in a Grand Slam final unless you experience it. All the other players who said that are completely right.

No matter how many finals you play at other tournaments, there is no amount of preparation you…

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