Coco Gauff gets real on her goals and if reaching Serena Williams heights is possible

Gauff, who was called by some the next Serena Williams in her early days, has achieved big success early.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Coco Gauff gets real on her goals and if reaching Serena Williams heights is possible
© Getty Images Sport - Elsa

Coco Gauff acknowledges she would like to one day be mentioned as one of the best players in tennis history but admits she does not think that she can reach Serena Williams' heights.

Just like her idol Williams, Gauff - who will be turning 20 next month - achieved major success early on as the American is already a Grand Slam champion and the top-ranked American female tennis player with her ranking of No. 3 in the world. When Gauff beat Venus Williams and made the Wimbledon round-of-16 as a 15-year-old qualifier in 2019, people instantly started talking about her as someone who could potentially be the next Serena Williams. 

20 days before her 20th birthday, Gauff has seven titles in her collection, including the 2023 US Open title and her first WTA 1000 title 2023 Cincinnati. Also, Gauff made the French Open final in 2022 and participated in each of the last two WTA Finals editions.

After making a big Grand Slam breakthrough at the US Open and relieving herself of major pressure, many believe Gauff is now primed for more big success and that she will end up with at least several Grand Slam titles. While Gauff is hoping to do major things in the future, she highlights she does not to put a ceiling on what she wants to achieve or how much she can achieve.

“I think for me greatness is… I think multiple people can be great,” Gauff told The National.

“Obviously, there's only going to be one greatest of all time and I just feel like no matter what I do, I don't think anything I’ll do will compare to what Serena [Williams] did for the sport and the game and with the amount of times she won.

“But I definitely would like to be, when I retire, people, when they think of the best players, I'd like to be in that conversation. So hopefully I can do better and continue to do better.

“It's a big goal. It's a lot to try to do. But again, I feel like if I put a ceiling on something, then I'll stop at that ceiling or even worse, stop under it.

“So I just want to make things as limitless as possible. And at the end, when I put my racquets up, I can say I did everything I could to do all the things I wanted to.”

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

How Gauff reacted after losing in the Australian Open semifinal?

After winning the 2023 US Open and starting the 2024 season with a title at a WTA 250 tournament in Auckland, Gauff entered the 2024 Australian Open as one of the top favorites for the title. In the end, Gauff did manage to make a deep run before Aryna Sabalenka ended it by giving a 7-6 (2) 6-4 loss to the 19-year-old American.

For Gauff, it was another positive and strong run but the American didn't hide that she was left very disappointed after falling just short of winning back-to-back titles. Despite the disappointment, Gauff tried to stay positive and "celebrate herself," telling herself that it was a good Grand Slam run and a good sign for the future.

"Honestly, I do look at it, Okay, that was good. I kind of hate myself that I do that because it is a great accomplishment to make it to a semifinal of a Grand Slam, and people sometimes only do that once in their lives. So I am trying to celebrate myself more, but it is hard to do that," Gauff said in Doha last week.

"I'm trying to, you know, make it as big a deal which is cool to think about how, like, a couple years ago that would be, like, a huge deal for me and now it's not. I don't know if it's a good thing or not. But I am trying to make sure that I keep celebrating myself and not get too caught up on just the trophy, that there are little wins along the way."

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney
 

Gauff's next Grand Slam win could come at the French Open

When this year's French Open kicks off, Gauff will be making her fifth main draw appearance, barring an injury or an unexpected setback. So far in her career, Gauff has had success at the French Open and has had a couple of deep runs at Roland Garros.

After losing in the French Open second round in her main draw debut in 2020, Gauff made the quarterfinal the following year before making her first Grand Slam final at the age of 18 at the 2022 French Open. In her first French Open final, Gauff faced the best clay-courter in the game - Iga Swiatek - and didn't really stand much of a chance as the Pole ousted her with a 6-1 6-3 score.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Adam Pretty
 

Last year, Gauff reached the French Open quarterfinal before Swiatek handed her a straight-set defeat.

If Gauff stays healthy and remains consistent in the next couple of months, there is no doubt that she will be among the top favorites for the title at this year's French Open.

Coco Gauff Serena Williams
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