By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday September 8, 2023
Coco Gauff didn’t allow herself to have any grand visions of winning the US Open title this week. She’d been burned by that before, earlier this year at Roland-Garros, and the wise-beyond-her-years 19-year-old learned her lesson.
“I thought about it, but I told myself to get it out of my head, because that’s what I did at French,” Gauff said after taking out Aryna Sabalenka, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday in Arthur Ashe Stadium. I was envisioning, you know, what would happen if I would win. I think I wanted it too much.
“Last night, I started a little bit, but honestly, I just called my boyfriend, and I told him let’s talk until it’s time to go to sleep so we spoke until 1:00 a.m. and then I went to sleep.
“I woke up this morning. Yeah, when I lost the first set I still felt I was into the match and I said, you know, I’m going to give it my all. You know, whatever happens happens.”
Gauff: “Honestly, you know, the French Open moment, I don’t know if they caught it on camera but I watched Iga lift up that trophy, and I watched her the whole time. I said, I’m not going to take my eyes off her, because I want to feel what that felt like for her.”
— TennisNow (@Tennis_Now) September 10, 2023
Gauff, who became the youngest American to win a US Open women’s singles title since Serena Williams in 1999, says that her season took turn for the better after this year’s French Open, which was a pivotal experience for her. She put too much thought into defending her runner-up points from last year, and it hurt her performance.
“I feel like probably this French Open is honestly where it changed,” she said of the uptick in form that lead to hear winning 18 of 19 matches since the start of the Citi Open in D.C. this August. “Because I felt pressure to back up the final, and I obviously didn’t. So I was, like, Okay, well, I’ve got to reset. Then Wimbledon happened, and that was a tough, tough loss, because I thought I was playing good tennis leading up to that.
Gauff also referred to her experience at Roland-Garros, when she lost the final to Iga Swiatek in 2022, as a formative experience.
“Honestly, you know, the French Open moment, I don’t know if they caught it on camera but I watched Iga lift up that trophy, and I watched her the whole time,” she said. “I said, I’m not going to take my eyes off her, because I want to feel what that felt like for her.
“That felt like craziness today…