Serena Williams’ former coach Patrick Mouratoglou was convinced after meeting 10-year-old Coco Gauff for the first time that she was destined for greatness.
“I feel like she is someone who is so driven and confident in her abilities and she wants it so bad that I feel like she has the complete tools to reach the top of her game,” said the French coach, who is also the founder of the project Mouratoglou Academy and Ultimate Tennis Showdown, told CNN Sports’ Patrick Snell.
“When she left the office, I told everyone: ‘This person, let’s take her with us, she’s going to be great’.”
Gauff had never traveled outside the United States before joining the academy on the French Riviera, where she impressed Mouratoglou.
“The fitness test was incredible for her age,” he added. “His competitiveness when he plays against other players is impressive. “Because of her competitiveness, she is able to beat players who are technically better than her. ”
The 19-year-old has had a stellar start to her tennis career, winning titles in both singles and doubles and attracting worldwide attention as a teenager.
Gauff and Mouratoglou have known each other for nearly a decade and worked together in an unofficial capacity ahead of this year’s French Open.
“Coco has been making history, literally since he was a kid,” Mouratoglou said. “When she was 13 and a half, she reached the U.S. Open junior finals. At 14, she won the French Open junior championship.”
Gauff became a household name after becoming the youngest player to enter the Wimbledon main draw in the Open era and defeating tennis superstar Venus Williams in the first round. Gauff played until the fourth round before being knocked out by eventual champion Simona Halep.
Goff’s early success bodes well for things to come. She just scored the biggest victory of her career, defeating current world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka in three hard-fought sets to capture the 2023 U.S. Open singles title. Her first major win is the latest development in a career that seems to be moving on fast forward.
Gauff can now call herself a Grand Slam champion.
Her determination was the driving force behind her success – after a disappointing first-round exit at Wimbledon in July, Gauff was determined to make a comeback, saying: “Failure made me want to work harder.” The following month, she Impressive wins at events in Washington, D.C., and Cincinnati.
She came into New York as a fierce competitor, and even though she carried the burden of expectations and the burden of being the home favorite, Gauff handled everything that was thrown at her and ended up becoming a Grand Slam champion.
“She learned to deal with (pressure) at a young age, which partly explains her ability to win her first Grand Slam final at just 19 years old,” Mouratoglou said.
The 53-year-old has never served as Gauff’s official coach during her career, although they have worked together in the past (especially ahead of this year’s French Open) and she has trained with Gauff’s academy for nine years.
“She can still make a lot of progress in a lot of aspects of her game – which is a good thing by the way, but I think with her drive, her team, her motivation and her ability, she can definitely win Some (more professional matches)),” Mouratoglou added.
“Americans say, ‘The sky is the limit.’ “I don’t see any limits and I won’t give her any limits. ”
Mouratoglou is no stranger to working with championship-caliber talent, having previously coached Serena Williams to 10 Grand Slam titles and a career Golden Slam.
Gauff has spoken in the past about how she idolized the Williams sisters growing up, with Mouratoglou emphasizing the sisters’ effectiveness as trailblazers in the sport and the new U.S. Open champion standing in the same league as them The example of “staying consistent”.
“I think the Williams sisters inspired a lot of African Americans and black people,” he said. “Before them, there were very few people of color who were at the forefront of this sport.
“You feel like it’s not for you because you don’t see anyone who looks like you out there. I think Venus and Serena really opened a door for people of color in the sport, which is awesome .
“When you see guys like you, winning Grand Slams, making history, and there’s two of them, you think, ‘Maybe this is possible for me, too.'”
This is inspiration. ”
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Williams won 10 Grand Slam titles while working with Mouratoglou.
Mouratoglou, who has also worked with men’s tennis stars such as Stefanos Tsitsipas and Holger Ruhn, was full of praise for Serena Williams, whom he described as Williams was “bigger than tennis.”
“She did a lot of advocacy for women in general, for women’s rights, for mothers, for equality,” Mouratoglou said. “She always spoke out about these things.
“She helped women in sports get more respect.”