"I was really nervous going into the match," 16-year-old Coco Gauff had confessed about playing the French Open. This year was a huge transition for the feisty teen who had to deal with the bushfire effects surround the Australian Open as well as having to cope with the Covid pandemic while she was climbing the ladder of the WTA rankings.
She'd handled tough draws with players ranked in the top 10s and 20s as well as dealing with schoolwork and the major health crisis. There was an absence of competition close to six months but the teen put her game together at the start of the season to gain good results.
She defeated multi-slam winner Venus Williams and the twice U.S. Open champ Naomi Osaka along with digging out a victory over Aryna Sabalenka. Everything is always a learning experience and the absence of all those lost months just made Coco Gauff that more hungry to play and win.
She scored big on knocking out the No. 9 seed Johanna Konta 6-3, 6-3 on a cool, damp Paris day to secure a spot in the second round of the Roland Garros. There were only 1,000 fans in attendance which didn't bother Gauff in the least.
She also wasn't concerned about her 12 double faults because she was getting gifted by Konta's unforced errors which mad winning her debut first round at Roland Garros more pleasurable. Looking back, she would have never believed her loss of four in five matches leading up to arriving in Paris.
But she kept focused throughout the match and dealt with the tense moments when battling through a 10-minute game was nerve-wrecking. She'd also felt edgy when Konta extended the second set lead to 2-0. It just involved taking one point at a time and Gauff managed to keep her techniques sizzling by blasting out five straight games.
The first round win just gave her more confidence and after a pep talk from her Dad she agreed with his philosophy saying "I'm doing some things that people wish they could do."
The American player is through to the second round of the French Open, where she will now play Italian qualifier Martina Trevisan, who defeated fellow countrywoman Camila Giorgi in the first round.