19-year-old Coco Gauff showed flashes of her brilliance at the 2022 French Open. They were instrumental in taking her all the way into the women’s singles final. Unfortunately for Gauff, she ran into Iga Swiatek in the final, and the Pole was simply too hot to handle for the American. However, despite Gauff’s loss, tennis fans and experts lauded her for her stellar efforts.
Even though Gauff’s singles form has suffered in recent times, many believe that Gauff has the potential to become the next Serena Williams. As it so happens, in the days leading up to the 2023 French Open, Gauff paired up with Williams’ former coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.
In a press conference ahead of her opening encounter against Rebeka Masarova, Gauff admitted the requirements to reach the next level. The American’s words served as proof of everything she was lacking at the moment and everything Serena Williams had in her prime.
Coco Gauff suggests that her weakness became a weapon on clay
There’s no way Gauff could have so much at 19 had she not been blessed with talent. However, experts have repeatedly pointed to several weaknesses in Gauff’s game. She desperately needs to refine them in order to turn into one of the greats. Her heavy forehand is arguably the most prominent among those weaknesses.
However, according to Gauff, on clay, her weakness turns into a weapon. “Obviously the forehand is something that I have to improve on, but on clay especially I feel like it’s one of my weapons”. Gauff cited the example of the 2022 French Open, where her heavy forehand proved difficult to deal with for opponents. “Last year, I won a lot of points using that heavy forehand, and I think that’s something I continue to do this year.”
Gauff also revealed her need to be more vocal to help her coaches get the best out of her. “I’m used to being told what to do and I just do it”. Gauff’s words also reflected that she understands that her coaches want her to communicate more openly with them. “I think Patrick and previous coaches want me to be more vocal about my game and about what I want to do.”
To become the next Serena Williams, Gauff needs to harness one of Williams’ most defining qualities
Serena Williams is the Open Era’s most successful tennis player. She won a whopping 23 singles Grand Slam titles prior to announcing her retirement in 2022. While Williams possessed numerous qualities that made her a monster on the court, she also communicated vigorously with her coaches.
Earlier this year, Gauff admitted that tried to emulate both Venus and Serena Williams’ playing styles. However, now the world expects her to take the next step. She would arguably need to improve her communication skills. If she manages to do that, there’s no doubt that Coco Gauff can be the next American tennis great.