Coco Gauff shares reason for service struggles throughout clay season

Gauff hit 11 double faults on Monday and suffered five breaks but still managed to beat Paula Badosa in Rome.

by Dzevad Mesic
Coco Gauff shares reason for service struggles throughout clay season
© Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

Coco Gauff confirms she has been trying to implement technical changes to her service and that's why she has been inconsistent on her serve throughout the clay season.

So far, Gauff hasn't had a particularly great clay season as she suffered a Stuttgart quarterfinal loss to Marta Kostyuk before also exiting the Madrid Open in the round-of-16. In both tournaments, Gauff was struggling on her serve and that played a part in her exits. 

In Rome, Gauff's inconsistent serving continued but she has managed to reach the quarterfinal following a 5-7 6-4 6-1 win over Paula Badosa on Monday. Against Badosa, Gauff hit 11 double faults and lost her serve five times but still managed to end on the winning side after she clinched a total of seven breaks.

A match earlier, Gauff had 15 double faults in a 6-1 0-6 6-3 win over Jaqueline Cristian.

"Yeah, I've been working on it. I think today, even though the double-faults were there, I think it was still a better performance than it was last night," Gauff said.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Gauff on what will be her focus in the next match

When Gauff meets world No. 7 Zheng Qinwen today, she will try to "go big" on her first serve. After revealing that, Gauff acknowledged that some misses will certainly happen but highlights that she is thinking about the long-term rather than short-term.

"I think for me the focus will be getting more first serves in. I think my first-serve percentage was low, but my win percentage was in the high 70s or something like that. I think once I can get that down..." Gauff said.

"I'm going big on the first serve, so I know I'm probably going to miss more. I think it's just finding the balance of going big but also knowing when to slow down the pace just to get the serve in.

"Honestly, I mean, I bet on myself to continue to go big. I know when I go big and my serve goes in, it's dangerous. Even though this tournament I want to win, I'm trying to think long-term. I don't want to lose the 120 serve by not going for it."

In the same interview, Gauff also acknowledged that she is aware changing her service technique in the midst of a clay season isn't ideal.

Coco Gauff Paula Badosa