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Moments Tennis Star Coco Gauff Was Wise Beyond Her Years As a Teenager



En route to her first career US Open singles final, Gauff said she altered her perspective to reclaim her joy on the court.

Coco Gauff smiles during her second-round match at the 2023 US Open.
REUTERS/Mike Segar

With millions of dollars in endorsements invested in her success and tens of thousands of fans flocking to her matches, Gauff started to feel an undue pressure to perform after her breakthrough on tennis’ highest levels.

That pressure sapped much of the fun from the sport she loved. Realizing that perfection is unattainable and failure is inevitable is, in Gauff’s words, “really where the mindset has changed.”

“I realize that everybody loses, even the best of the best,” she said. “I think that I really have to apply those mistakes and learn from those mistakes and apply it into future matches.”

She managed to play her best tennis once that burden was lifted off her shoulders. Her 2023 run in Flushing Meadows marked her best-ever result at her home Grand Slam and made her the first American teenager since Serena Williams to reach the final of the US Open.

But it’s a lack of emphasis on those results that she credits for her stellar play in New York City.

“I feel confident in my preparation, and I feel confident in my execution,” Gauff told Insider. “I hope everything works out. At the same time, I’m not too worried if it doesn’t.”

“I’m really just enjoying the process of having a tennis career, the ups and downs,” she added with a smile. “I know I’m up right now, and I know I’m going to experience a down. Hopefully not this week, but it could happen.”

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