John McEnroe tells Iga Swiatek why she should fear Coco Gauff at Wimbledon

McEnroe thinks Gauff is a Wimbledon favorite and someone who could beat Swiatek this summer.

by Dzevad Mesic
John McEnroe tells Iga Swiatek why she should fear Coco Gauff at Wimbledon
© Getty Images Sport - Maja Hitij

John McEnroe has shared his take on Wimbledon favorites and that includes Coco Gauff potentially making a big breakthrough against Iga Swiatek. 

After winning the French Open and concluding the clay season by winning three consecutive titles, Swiatek opted to rest and not play any tournaments leading up to Wimbledon. While there are some questions that Swiatek needs to answer on grass, no one is taking her Wimbledon chances for granted because she has proved many times over the last two years that she is one of the best when it comes to figuring out things. 

Meanwhile, Gauff will enter Wimbledon with three strong Grand Slam results in a row and certainly feeling about her chances of making another great run. But the 2023 US Open champion still has one issue - she has yet to find a winning formula against Swiatek. 

After losing to Swiatek at the Rome Open and French Open last week, Gauff fell to a 1-11 record in their head-to-head. But neither of those 12 meetings came on grass. And in McEnroe's mind, Gauff would definitely have a much bigger shot at beating Swiatek if they met on the fastest tennis surface.

"Coco Gauff is a great player. She’s got the major and knows how to play on the grass. She’s more comfortable on it than Iga Swiatek is. That doesn’t mean Iga isn’t going to figure something out, but she’s more vulnerable on grass than any other surface. It opens the door for some other players," McEnroe said.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff © Getty Images Sport - Inaki Esnaola

After mentioning Gauff and naming her a favorite, McEnroe also noted that players like Elena Rybakina and Aryna Sabalenka are always a big threat on grass with their aggressive styles of play.

"Elena Rybakina, the way she plays, it suits her game more and it’s the same for Aryna Sabalenka, they are big hitters. It’ll be interesting to see what Naomi Osaka can do on the grass. The door is open, for sure."

Greg Rusedski agrees with McEnroe's take on Gauff

Before McEnroe, 1997 US Open finalist Greg Rusedski had a similar take on Gauff's Wimbledon chances. When addressing the upcoming Wimbledon, Rusedski acknowledged Swiatek's dominance but also noted that the grass was a completely different situation for the Pole. 

Then, Rusedski explained why the grass was a much better for surface for Gauff and also added that having coach Brad Gilbert - who knows what it takes to win on grass since he worked with Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick in the past - was also something big. 

“Well I think, if you look at her (Swiatek), she’s won four French Opens, one US Open,” Rusedski said last week on Tennis Channel's Inside-In.

“For Coco, let’s be honest, grass against Iga, she’s licking her lips. She’s thinking, ‘That’s my time to start squaring up this rivalry’. She came to the forefront when she beat Venus Williams and announced herself to the world and the British public at Wimbledon [in 2019].

“And I think Brad Gilbert has done a great job with her, and I think they’re probably saying, ‘Okay, semis [at the French Open] is solid, we didn’t play our best in the semis. But now we got Wimbledon coming on, this is our one after winning the US Open last year.'

“So I think the rivalry will be there, but on clay (Swiatek), it’s like watching Rafa. We’ve got [Roger] Federer, [Novak] Djokovic, [Andy] Murray, [Stan] Wawrinka, all those guys. I’m sorry, it’s just, that’s what Swiatek is now.

“I’m hoping that Coco can bring her A-game to Wimbledon this year and has got a real shot to win. Let’s not forget [Aryna] Sabalenka got ill this year at the French.

“And there’s a few other names, there’s [Elena] Rybakina and players like that on the grass courts. So Wimbledon’s wide open. And you’re talking about Wimbledon coming up — Swiatek is not one of the favorites for the title.”

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Gauff has had some preparation, unlike Swiatek

Last week, world No. 2 Gauff kicked off her grass season by participating in a WTA 500 tournament in Berlin. In the German capital, Gauff was supposed to have Swiatek as a competition but that was halted after the Pole decided to pull out of the tournament before it started. 

After a first-round bye, Gauff got to play two matches at the tournament as the American overcame Ekaterina Alexandrova and Ons Jabeur before losing a tight semifinal meeting versus Jessica Pegula.

Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff © Getty Images Sport - Maja Hitij

Gauff maybe didn't win her first Berlin title last week but playing three strong matches there was certainly a good preparation for The Championships. 

John Mcenroe Iga Swiatek Coco Gauff