As if he lived half a life before the microphones, Coco gauff she performs before journalists with the dialectical expertise of a veteran. However, he is only 15 years old and, he said after going back against Sorana Cirstea (4-6, 6-3 7-5) and getting the ticket for the third round of the Australian Open, he has very little left to get the license to drive. “I already have the permit [la autorización requerida para practicar en Estados Unidos], but I brought it to Australia and I don’t know why … My mother has kept it, so she doesn’t lose it. She lets me drive less than my father… ”, he joked in front of a large group of special envoys, because his media resonance is proportional to his sports precocity.
Gauff has a star. And the United States pampers it as if destiny was written in advance. In just six months, everything has changed. She should be competing among the juniors, but she is already the 67 in the world, she has won a professional title (Linz) and last summer she made history at Wimbledon, becoming the youngest tennis player to access the main table of the British great. “My goal is to be the best in history. That is my goal, to win the largest number of Grand Slams ”, assures the athlete without blushing, whose face is already on the covers of prestigious magazines, late nights, advertisements. Your nation awaits you. Vertigo under pressure? None.
“I respect everyone, but I think I can beat anyone,” he says. “She is extremely mature for her age,” said Venus Williams three days ago, 24 years older than her and exhausted the two times they have met, in London and last Monday in Melbourne. “He is special, very aware of everything around him. It can be a great inspiration for people, especially young people, “says Billie-Jean King, winner of 12 grand. Everything is praise and she processes them naturally, knowing that an excessive reality comes over her, although there is her protective belt: her father and coach, Corey, her mother Candi and the trainer Patrick Mouratoglou.
The latter, the Frenchman who has been training Serena Williams for years and also advises the talented Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, has an academy in Nice that Gauff has paraded many times and last month he devised a coexistence to crown the preseason. In a strategy of team building (team building), brought together Serena, Gauff, Chris Eubanks and Marius Copil from December 10 to 20, accompanied by a pair of juniors. The setting for the meeting was Boca Ratón, an idyllic spot in South Florida where Naomi Osaka, Coco’s next rival, precisely resides. There, he organized a series of group activities led by former boxer Mike Tyson, famed fitness trainer Shaun T and DJ Bob Sinclair. And there was everything: triathlon, diving, basketball, kayak races, dinners and karaoke.
He camp de Mouratoglou was, in reality, the objective of a conspiracy so that this year Gauff continues to grow and grow, and the legendary Williams (6-2 and 6-3 to Tamara Zidansek) find the way to the infinity of the big 24. “I don’t usually box much, because it’s not good for my nails, and I always dance because it’s more entertaining than going to the gym every day, right?” Serena reasons. “The moment was the choreography with her,” says the last prodigy of the racket. “Actually, this has been my first preseason because I was a junior,” says the girl, who is entertaining these days with an application (TikTok) to create music videos.
“Everyone thinks I’m as serious as I am on the track, but I’m not. I don’t really take life too seriously. I just want to have fun, ”he says as his game continues to evolve. To its freshness it adds a formidable mobility – it measures 1.75 and weighs about 55 kilos -, and that solidity in the racket that has sustained him in his first appearances in the majors; technically quite neat, it is now required to sharpen the right to gain track and enhance the offensive phase, because in the fold it is pure marble. “Pure talent”, describes the German Steffi Graf, with 22 majors on the record.
“I just have to worry about my game, not what people think about me. I still have a lot to improve… ”, closes Gauff in Melbourne, where he will meet another young woman who hatched a year and a half ago, Naomi Osaka (22). The Japanese linked two greats – the 2018 US Open and last year’s Australian Open – but has lost incandescence. In September, both ended up comforting themselves in tears after the Japanese beat the American in the third round in New York. Now, Coco has before him the challenge of climbing another step to that place that, they say, belongs to him.
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