EXCLUSIVE: Coach Eric Riley said why Iga Swiatek is still too strong for Coco Gauff

The Pole and the American will be the protagonists of the upcoming Roland Garros: Coach Riley expressed his opinion in an interview with Tennis World USA

by Lorenzo Ciotti
EXCLUSIVE: Coach Eric Riley said why Iga Swiatek is still too strong for Coco Gauff
© Adam Pretty / Staff Getty Images Sport

Will the upcoming Roland Garros be yet another opportunity for Iga Swiatek to continue her domination on clay-courts? Or will her opponents like Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff have the chance to put a spanner in the works of the phenomenal Pole?

The legendary coach Eric Riley, who coached Pam Shriver and Lisa Raymond during their careers and who now coaches Stanford University star Angelica Blake (recently named the PAC-12 Singles Player of the Year), kindly granted an interview to Tennis World USA, in which he mainly analyzed Coco Gauff's chances of undermining Iga Swiatek's dominance on the WTA Tour.

Will Iga Swiatek's dominance ever allow Coco Gauff to become the 'queen' of clay courts?

"Coco has improved on all surfaces and she did get to the finals of the French once. However the Europeans will always have the edge on us on the clay because they grew up playing on it and they move better."

Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff
Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff© Sarah Stier / Staff Getty Images Sport

The upcoming change of surface has never been easy for Swiatek: could the grass season be the turning point of Gauff's season?

"Iga Swiatek has champions blood running through her veins. If she prioritizes Wimbledon's grass courts to win 7 matches in a row she can do it. The mindset is more important than the bounce of the ball. Gauff on the other hand has been having a lot of tough matches lately; I think she is gonna have a tough run having won her first Slam."

What is Gauff missing to be able to compete on an equal footing with Swiatek? Can their rivalry become 'one-way' like the one between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova?

"Swiatek is a more complete player than Coco in every phase of the game. Coco will work hard to close the gap but the edge has to continue to go to Swiatek."

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek © Getty Images Sport - Alex Grimm

The transition from the Big 3 era to the new generation is causing many surprises on the ATP tour tournaments. In contrast, the WTA Tour has well-defined hierarchies; Do you think that at the moment, women's tennis is more spectacular and interesting than men's tennis?

"Mens tennis is still quite predictable with Djokovic, Sinner, and Alcaraz with one wildcard in the other semi. Swiatek and Sabalenka are predictable for semis. Gauff and the others can duke it for the semi final birth."

Iga Swiatek Coco Gauff Roland Garros