Coco Gauff has emotional inspiration behind US Open preparations

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Coco Gauff wants to inspire the next generation of black tennis players (Image: AFP via Getty Images)
Coco Gauff wants to inspire the next generation of black tennis players (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Coco Gauff made a powerful statement after her victorious opening match at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. this week.

In her post-match interview, the rising American tennis star expressed her desire to inspire the next generation of black players and addressed the challenges she and her opponent, Hailey Baptiste, had faced during their junior circuit days. Gauff's emotional message clearly resonated with the crowd as she highlighted the importance of representation in the sport.

Gauff's match against Baptiste ended with a 6-1, 6-4 victory for the 19-year-old in just 77 minutes. The two players shared a warm embrace after the match.

In her interview, Gauff addressed the lack of black women in junior tennis when she was growing up. She acknowledged the difficulties both players had encountered as youngsters, saying: "We had to deal with a lot of c**p."

Gauff said (via the Express US): "It makes me a bit emotional playing Hailey because growing up, there wasn't really too many Black women in juniors. For us to be both here on tour playing, it really means a lot. We had to deal with a lot of c**p that you guys don’t know about. I hope Hailey and I play each other many more times to be that representation, I see a lot of little girls in the stands. I hope that this becomes more of a common thing in the sport.”

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Gauff saved three break points in the first set and comfortably cruised through to win it. The second set proved to be more competitive, but the world no.7 managed to secure a crucial break and her serve remained unbroken throughout the entire match.

"Playing Hailey, a friend, known her for a long time. It was really cool to play her in front of her hometown, and hopefully, we have many more battles in the future,” Gauff added.

"We practiced together so many times. Camps together. We even shared a room together in Palm Springs for two or three weeks. We were roommates. We know each other very well.”

Coco Gauff has emotional inspiration behind US Open preparationsCoco Gauff beat her friend Hailey Baptiste at the Citi Open in Washington, DC. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Gauff's next challenge at the Citi Open is a quarter-final clash with Olympic champion Belinda Bencic. Tjhe tournament marks an important part of Gauff's American hardcourt swing as she aims to reach her peak performance for the upcoming US Open later this month.

Following her early exit from Wimbledon, Gauff has been working closely with her new coach, Pere Riba, to enhance her aggressive playing style, particularly on her forehand shots. “I should be playing that aggressive style, focusing on my serve plus one,” she told The Washington Post.

"There are times I’ve served 126 miles per hour, and I think for me, you know, I’m not going to hit 126 every time.2 But I definitely want to increase my first-serve speed average. It’s not that I can’t get there; it’s that sometimes I need to trust in it. So it’s committing on the serve every single point.”

This article was crafted with the help of AI tools, which speed up Mirror.co.uk ' s editorial research. A content editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected].

Liam Llewellyn

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