Coco Gauff issues ultimate statement on Iga Swiatek and makes one thing clear

Gauff gave credit where credit was due after her Rome semifinal loss to Swiatek.

by Dzevad Mesic
Coco Gauff issues ultimate statement on Iga Swiatek and makes one thing clear
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Coco Gauff issued a major statement and praise on Iga Swiatek's game after their Rome match as the 2023 US Open champion felt her level against the Pole was so good that she would have probably won that day against anyone else other than the three-time French Open champion while also naming the 22-year-old Pole as "the one to beat" at Roland Garros.

Playing in her second Rome semifinal, 20-year-old Gauff came out playing well and delivering a high-level tennis but two-time Rome champion Swiatek had answers for everything that came her way and ultimately sealed a 6-4 6-3 win. 

Early in the first set, Gauff claimed an early break and a 2-0 lead but then missed out on game points in the third game as Swiatek managed to get the break back. A few games later, Gauff saved two consecutive break points in the seventh game but couldn't do the same two games later as Swiatek went 5-4 up before serving out for the first set in the 10th game.

Down by a set, Gauff kept playing good and competing well against Swiatek but the Pole still earned the first break of the second set in the fifth game. In the seventh game, Gauff had a chance to get the break back but Swiatek managed to save two break points and go 5-3 up before breaking the American again in the ninth game to complete her straight-set win. 

After the match, Gauff admitted to feeling a bit frustrated as she felt her game was there but even that wasn't enough against Swiatek on clay.

"I would say from just this match, I feel more negative emotions right now. Looking at the whole tournament from where I started to now, I definitely feel like it's major improvement," Gauff said after the match.

"Against probably anybody else today, I would have won the match. I wanted to be aggressive, which I felt like I did. I think I missed some balls in some clutch moments. That's what being aggressive is. I think if I continue to play in this way, I will be more consistent in that."

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff © Getty Images Sport -Mike Hewitt

Gauff on how she feels about her clay season form and results

Before coming to Rome, Gauff wasn't particularly impressive on clay as in Stuttgart she just defeated Sachia Vickery before losing to Marta Kostyuk while in Madrid when won her opening two matches before Madison Keys ended her run in the round-of-16.

After an inconsistent start to the clay season, Gauff definitely looked much better in Rome and her run to the semifinal included a 5-7 6-4 6-1 win over former world No. 2 Paula Badosa, as well as a 7-6 (4) 6-1 win over 2024 Australian Open runner-up Zheng Qinwen. 

"Yeah, I think from the start of the clay till now, I feel like my confidence is definitely very high. Like, it sucks to lose, but I know I lost playing the right way. I know that I'm a good player and that I can do better in those moments. I think I'm just trusting myself and my practice at that," Gauff explained.

"I think the way that I lost today, it wasn't because a wing or a shot broke down, it's because she was the better player today. If I lose matches like that, we go back and we practice.

"I think going into Roland Garros, like if you asked me pretournament and now, I feel like I'm a different player in terms of just how I've been playing. I think it really turned around in the Badosa match, then pushed through the Qinwen, and then today was a 4-3 loss. I feel like the scoreline doesn't show how competitive it was. It was almost two hours at 6-4, 6-3."

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff © Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt

Gauff: Swiatek is the one to beat at the French Open

Heading into the French Open, Gauff is absolutely on the list of favorites. However, Gauff is the first to acknowledge that Swiatek is the one who will come to Roland Garros as the No. 1 favorite for the title. 

"Going into it (the French Open), I know she's the one to beat if I want to win Roland Garros. I'm going to take what I learned from today and try to apply that next time we play, which I hope is at Roland Garros," Gauff added. 

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek © Getty Images Sport -Dan Istitene

Exactly two years ago, Gauff made her maiden Grand Slam final at the French Open. At the time, Gauff's inexperience of playing in Slam finals and having Swiatek as her opponent did its part as the American suffered a 1-6 3-6 loss to the Pole. 

If Gauff meets Swiatek again at Roland Garros this year, the Pole will probably enter the match as the favorite but it would be interesting to see if the American would be able to make some changes compared to Rome and pose a bigger threat to the world No. 1.

Coco Gauff Iga Swiatek