The parents of American teen Coco Gauff have made a clarification after the 16 year old shared her story on the Behind the Racquet series. In the post, Gauff said she was depressed and lost for a year before her Wimbledon breakthrough and even considered taking a break from tennis.
Speaking to the New York Times, Corey Gauff, who was one of Coco's coaches, commented, “That’s the thing that was alarming, and I knew that was going to be the word that got picked up. She was never clinically depressed, never diagnosed with depression, never seen anybody about depression.
There’s no medicine going on. This is a kid’s personal pressure that they put on themselves and how they deal with it and how they mature. I am grateful my wife and her were able to work through this when she was 13 and 14, with her feelings and playing tennis and going to high school, how she wanted to dress and look.
And I’m grateful she was open to talk to her mom about it, because a lot of times teenagers turn to drugs or other people or alcohol or something else to kind of deal with this uncertainty in their life in this period.
And fortunately for us she didn’t”. Her mother, Candi Gauff, commented, "That led to loneliness at the tournaments, which leads to sadness, so for a period of time she was unhappy. I don’t want to say the word ‘jealousy,’ but it was a spirit of, ‘Why is this young girl winning?’ So she was isolated.
You are seeing other kids posting photos of going to these high school events, and you’re wondering what would life be like if I didn’t play tennis. What I saw was somebody who was emotionless and who was going through the motions of playing tennis.
After that match, I had a long conversation with her, and I said: ‘If you are not happy with what you are doing, you do not have to do it, but what you have to do is try. If you are going to go on court, you must try because your dad is not sacrificing his time away from his other children for you not to try.’ I also told her she could stop playing tennis right now, but that she must do some other sport.
That is not negotiable in our household”. American tennis player Noah Rubin, the player behind the Behind the Racquet series which chronicles the on-court and off-court struggles of players, commented, "It’s completely my fault that I didn’t go deeper into what she meant by depressed.
I feel she was definitely sad and lost and questioning tennis at periods in the past. We spoke for about 30 minutes, and she sounded very honest. But the word ‘depression’ is a trigger word, and people start questioning things”.
Rubin said Gauff had approved the post before it was made public. "Hey, people throw that word around, so did you see a professional for this, or did you just feel deep sadness?’” Gauff is currently the youngest player in the Top 100 in the world rankings.