"..I still have a lot to learn and a long ways to go," Coco Gauff said honestly as her first time getting back on tour since the 5-month layover from the Pandemic. She would bow to Greece's Maria Sakkari in straight sets at the Western and Southern Open taking place at Flushing Meadows.
Gauff was playing up against Sakkari who had turned pro nearly five years ago and acquired her single title also last year in Rabat, Morocco. It might have been a bit much for the impressive, but young Coco.
Gauff came into the tour with her 1st WTA title at the Linz Open in Austria last year.
She and partner Caty McNally captured two doubles titles, one at the CitiOpen and then last year's U.S.
Open. Besides from those their junior doubles title came at the 2019 French Open. Coco Gauff comes with a heavy resume for just her 16 years of age and after her first WTA title walked into the U.S. Open confident that she'd do well and possibly win her first round.
But she'd been in the draw with 31st seeded Anastasija Sevastova who has been on the tour almost as many years as Gauff is old. "..I'm playing against people older than me who have been in more situations...than I have," the teen had admitted.
She looks at ther age as a double-edged sword where she may have the stamina of her youth against all the other players, but lacks the competitive years of play. "Sevastova gave the teen a lot of credit saying "I wish I would play like this when I was 16.
Great player. Nothing more to say," the Latvian player said smilingly. The expectations for Coco Gauff are positive but the 16-year-old admits that the success she's accomplished so far has came really fast and sometimes difficult to uphold.
"I just go on tour a little over a year ago," Gauff gets realistic. There is so much she can do and at times it's a lot to handle. The Pandemic hasn't made it that much more easier either. The months of no competitive play along with the few tournaments she's limited to can tamper with anyone's game.
All the players have to deal with the absence of fans to cheer them on and it may be a slight factor on the struggle for consistency and success. Coco Gauff has an added bonus of being skillful enough though in doubles which helps to give her more confidence in both games.
She's awaiting her time to play her doubles at the Open and see what she can accomplish. Gauff knows that with more practice and competitive play she can become more successful in singles too, going deep not only at the U.S. Open, but future tournaments to come.