Photo Credit: Jimmie48/WTA
Tennis sensation Coco Gauff is living the dream as a professional tennis player. Being an inspiration is her personal dream.
“My personal dream, I mean, it’s just to inspire people just to do anything, not tennis, per se, but just inspire them to know that every day, you have a chance to be a better version of yourself,” said Gauff. “Life is ups and downs. And I think for me, I want to remind people that, your progress and your journey to your goal is not going to be linear, you’re going to go down for a bit.
“But as long as you’re looking forward to going up, it will happen,” she said
Gauff made the remarks Thursday to media shortly after arriving in Fort Worth for the 2022 WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Finals Tournament which begins play at Dickie’s Arena on Monday Oct. 31 and runs through Nov. 7th.
The 18-year-old (and 239 days) will make her debut appearance at the prestigious season-ending tournament. She is the youngest player to compete at the season finale since 2005 when Maria Sharapova reached the semifinals aged 18 and 208 days. Gauff will also be the youngest American to contest the event since Lindsay Davenport’s runner-up finish in 1994 (aged 18 years and 165 days).
Gauff will compete in both the singles and the doubles (with partner Pegula) categories. She and Pegula will be the first Americans to feature at the WTA Finals in both singles and doubles since Serena and Venus Williams in 2009.
The WTA Finals is the last WTA competition of the year and is reserved for the top 8 singles players and doubles teams in the world, based on their 2022 rankings. Coco is one of a few players who will play in both doubles and singles.
Texas Metro News asked her which category she prefers, doubles or singles.
“I prepare (for each) completely different. I would say, I like singles a little bit more. But also at the same time, I love doubles. Like, like they’re really close to each other,” she said. “I just love tennis in general. So, I love being on the court.
“However, there’s something about (playing) singles. Me personally, I’m a very independent person, I like to be alone, to be honest, as a kid, that’s why I gravitated towards it,” Gauff continued. “So I like that aspect of figuring things out a lot on the court and, you know, battling your inner thoughts and yourself, but also doubles, it provides a more relaxed environment.”
Gauff said playing doubles also helps when things go awry during the singles matches. “I honestly think I probably wouldn’t have survived this year if I didn’t play doubles because it’s just…when you lose the singles match it’s something about coming back out on the court and try to fight to win doubles,” she said. “And I think it helps me mentally a lot because sometimes, you know, when you lose, you just want to leave and go to the hotel and go home.
“But I think doubles has helped me mentally become stronger, because I have to push away those emotions that I’m feeling for singles to focus on trying to win the doubles match. So I like both pretty much almost equally, but singles just a little bit more, because that’s just how I started.”
Gauff calls her parents and grandfather are her biggest influences personally and professionally. “I mean they (my parents) know me probably better than anyone, sometimes better than myself. And I say my grandfather, because he’s very, anybody knows him, he’s very by the book, very professional type of guy, gives it his all, but he also has a rough side. And I think that just describes me perfectly.”
Gauff has enjoyed a phenomenal year on the Hologic WTA Tour to secure her debut singles qualification, reaching her first Grand Slam singles final at Roland-Garros and two further semifinals at the WTA 250 Adelaide International and WTA 500 Bett1Open (Berlin).
She boosted her qualification hopes further by reaching the last eight at the WTA 1000 Qatar TotalEnergies Open (Doha) followed by a strong summer with quarterfinal runs at the WTA 500 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic (San Jose), WTA 1000 National Bank Open presented by Rogers (Toronto), the US Open and WTA 500 San Diego Open. Her last eight appearance in New York in September propelled her into the Top 10 for the first time in her career, and she peaked in the rankings at No.7 on October 17.
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is the principal organizing body of women’s professional tennis. It governs the WTA Tour which is the worldwide professional tennis tour for women and was founded to create a better future for women’s tennis.