Coco Gauff shares what changed after overcoming her darkest period

Gauff is playing great and doing extremely well mentally but she was far from this situation 12 months ago.

by Dzevad Mesic
Coco Gauff shares what changed after overcoming her darkest period
© Getty Images Sport - Francois Nel

Coco Gauff says she has learned how to be passionate about something but not become too serious about it to the point where it can be detrimental to her well-being as the 20-year-old is thrilled to be in a completely different situation at this year's Wimbledon.

12 months ago, Gauff was giving negative body reactions and body language throughout her shock Wimbledon first-round loss to Sofia Kenin. After the match was over and Gauff exited Wimbledon very early and left the tournament without accomplishing her Grand Slam goal, the American looked absolutely dejected and devastated. 

Later after Gauff won the 2023 US Open, she revealed that one of the reasons why her result was so special was the fact that just two months earlier she was in one of her lowest points. 

This week, Gauff returned to The All England Club as one of the top favorites for the title. And so far so good for the second-seeded American, who crushed Caroline Dolehide 6-1 6-2 before ousting Anca Todoni 6-2 6-1 to reach the third round. 

And after starting her Wimbledon run with back-to-back dominant wins, Gauff was asked in her on-court interview about the turnaround she made in 12 months and going from her lowest to her highest point. 

“I think overall I just learned a lot about life. I guess that's what you do as you get older. What I do I'm passionate about but it's never that serious," Gauff said.

"The world can make you feel like there's so much pressure and expectation. At the end of the day it's a game, it's a sport. I'm very very privileged and honored to be playing in front of you guys. This is the court where I first started here at Wimbledon. Court 1 is always a special place for me to play.”

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Francois Nel

There is one thing that Gauff doesn't want to happen to her

Against Todoni, Gauff easily won with just three games lost during the match. But although the 2023 US Open champion was dominating Todoni from start to finish, there were still moments when she didn't seem happy with some things. 

In her post-match press conference, Gauff admitted that she can be "too critical" at times on herself but noted that all of that comes from her desire not to get too comfortable. After making that clear, the 20-year-old revealed that she absolutely does not want to be a player who becomes a Grand Slam champion and never again wins a Major. 

“I do think I can be too critical because 2-1 is clean. It’s just like moments, maybe I like missed some shots that I normally would make. Also that’s tennis, you’re always going to miss some shots that you normally would make. I am trying to focus on straight sets and winning cleaner," Gauff said. 

“Obviously today I can’t be too critical. I think on the court I was getting a little bit more frustrated than normal, considering the scoreline.

“A lot of times players win their first slam, it takes them a couple years to win the next. Not that I want to be that person. I want to win obviously as soon as possible. I tend to be ultracritical on myself. I’m like, ‘OK, let me take a step back, be patient, and enjoy the ride’.

“When it comes to all of these events being bunched up together, I haven’t looked that far ahead honestly.”

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff© Getty Images Sport - Francois Nel

Sonay Kartal will see one of her dreams come true when she takes on Gauff 

On Friday, Gauff will return to action when she takes on Great Britain's Kartal, who is ranked at No. 298 in the world. After making it past the qualifying event, Kartal also earned her first Wimbledon main draw wins after beating Sorana Cirstea and Clara Burel.

As a reward for her career-best run, Kartal will get a chance to play against world No. 2 Gauff on Wimbledon's Center Court. 

“Those are the moments you dream of as a little kid. If it is Centre Court, yeah, I’ll be super excited, super proud to be on that court. It’s a really special thing,” Kartal said.

“I’ve got a picture in my room. I have an older brother. With my mum and my dad, we were on Centre Court. We got lucky, we had really good tickets. I think I was seven maybe? Yeah, obviously I grew up coming here as a kid. To be able to walk on to one of those courts will be a dream come true.”

Sonay Kartal
Sonay Kartal© Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt

Kartal may be in the midst of her best-ever run but Gauff will undoubtedly be the major favorite in their third-round meeting.

Coco Gauff