极速赛车双面盘

With an excellent temperament, Coco Gauff "playing within the margins"

With an excellent temperament, Coco Gauff "playing within the margins"

Thanks to solid judgment and steady composure, the 15-year-old isn't overplaying on the biggest stages Wimbledon has to offer。

极速赛车双面盘

LONDON—“Surprised but not surprised. I knew she could play this kind of tennis but, perhaps, not quite this quickly.”

Patrick Mouratoglou was standing on the Players’ Lawn at the All England Club, acknowledging passers by (including John McEnroe of whom more later) and talking, naturally of Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old from Delray Beach, FL who has become the sensation of this year’s Wimbledon. 

Mouratoglou has become one of Gauff’s coaches, taking her into his academy near Cannes in the south of France and offering it as a training base when she is in Europe。 He continued to talk of the explosive last month in the teenager’s life and how it has projected her onto the world stage。 In just the last few days beating her idol, Venus Williams, in the first round at Wimbledon and then Magdalena Rybarikova, a semifinalist here in 2017, in the second, has caught the imagination of the sporting world。

“After losing in the second round of qualifying at Roland Garros some tactical changes were made,” said the man who has guided the latter stages of Serena Williams’ career. “It was mainly about deciding when to attack and when to defend. But her judgement is so good at such a young age that she resists the temptation to use her full power all the time. She doesn’t over play. She plays within the margins.”

Mouratoglou acknowledges that Coco is feeling the pressure of sudden fame but is showing every sign of being able to handle it. “The temperament is excellent,” he says.

I was in Oakland, CA when Venus played her first professional match at the age of 14 against the then world No 50, Shaun Stafford of South Africa。 In the next round she lost to Grand Slam winner Arantxa Sanchez Vicario but won a set。 We were stunned because neither Venus nor Serena had played any junior matches of any kind for the previous three years。 Just practice matches under the eye of their first coach, Rick Macci。

极速赛车双面盘That made Venus’ achievement even more remarkable but the comparisons are vivid and apt。 Although Gauff will grow in the coming years, the body shape is the same as the older Williams sister even though the extreme grip on her forehand makes her a different kind of player。 The grip is so extreme—reminiscent of the Spanish Davis Cup player Alberto Berasetegui—that she seems to be hitting with the same aside of the strings off both flanks。

And she can generate power off both sides, too, backing it up with a powerful, highly effective serve。 “She is certainly better at 15 than I was at the same age,” John McEnroe laughed when I caught up with him。 “Can’t really remember how I played at 15 but I certainly wasn’t THAT good。 She’s got the game and apparently she’s got the temperament so the sky is the limit for her。”

So much is about temperament. Naomi Osaka, current holder of both the US Open and Australian Open titles, has been struggling with the fanfare that inevitably surrounded her achievements, not least the commercial pressure of being festooned with advertising logos and contracts in Japan where her handlers won’t engage you very long with talk about the fact that she is half Haitian. Osaka lost in the first round at Wimbledon and fled the press room on the verge of tears.

极速赛车双面盘With a less complicated African-American background, Coco—whose real name is Cori, almost the same as her father Corey—has two former college athletes as parents. Corey Gauff played basketball at Georgia State while her mother, Candi, was a track and field star at Florida State. From all accounts it is Candi, who taught school for 19 years, who keeps everyone’s feet on the ground. The 15-year-old will have no illusions as to who will clean her room when they get back to Delray Beach. Candi wants Coco to have as normal a childhood as possible and that includes the chores.

No one doubts that Coco has the game to reach the very top of the game at a young age but there is always a question against temperament when success comes so quickly。 I asked Sue Barker, the long serving BBC TV presenter at Wimbledon who won the French Open at the age of twenty, how she handled early fame。 “I think I was more excited than nervous,” she said, remembering her Wimbledon debut at 16。 “But there is always pressure and that is why I have found Coco’s reaction to these two wins so impressive。 She reminds me so much of Venus。”

Annabel Croft, another former British No 1, has similar memories. “I played my first Wimbledon match 15 but lost,” she told me. “The experience actually helped me in the juniors, which I won. After playing in the main draw, the juniors didn’t feel like such a big deal!”

Croft never realized her full potential because she couldn’t stand the lifestyle of traveling alone as a young woman along with the airport-hotel-courts routine and gave up at the age of 21.

It was different then and Coco Gauff will never travel alone. Sorting out who she does travel with and who she listens to will probably play a major part in just what kind of champion she will become. She is in good hands now and the game can look forward to welcoming a new star of rare stature.     


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