Cori Gauff: 'I was thinking about taking a year off, feeling depressed and sad'



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Cori Gauff: 'I was thinking about taking a year off, feeling depressed and sad'

Cori Gauff is yet to play a match following her 16th birthday, sidelined from the court like the rest of the tennis world due to a coronavirus. Super talented American is by far the youngest player in the top-100 after a stellar 2019 season, claiming her first WTA title in October and already reaching the last 16 at Majors twice before turning 16!

In February last year, the American cracked the top-500 after advancing into the first professional final at the age of 14, needing just over a year to become the youngest top-50 player since 2005, making remarkable progress and heading towards the very top of the WTA ranking list.

Cori has already shown her potential on the most significant tennis scene years before her coevals, taking big steps towards her ultimate quest of becoming the greatest player in history! Cori has been one of the young guns to watch ever since the US Open 2017, reaching the junior final at the age of 13 and becoming Roland Garros champion at 14 next spring, securing the junior throne as one of the youngest players ever.

Targeting the place in the top-100 at the end of 2019, Cori left junior tennis behind after winning the Orange Bowl in December 2018, focusing on the professional tournaments and making an incredible improvement in passing some 600 rivals on the WTA list!

Gauff needed just a couple of significant events to show her game in full glory, advancing into the fourth round at Wimbledon last year as a qualifier and doing the same in Melbourne this January, dethroning Naomi Osaka before losing to an eventual champion Sofia Kenin.

Still, Cori had to endure a real drama outside the court two years ago, struggling with depression and feeling sad and uncertain about her moves or decisions. The youngster even thought about taking a break from tennis to sort out her life, finding a way to get everything right without stepping out from the sport she loves and discovering a perfect balance that has carried her towards history books.

"Right before Wimbledon, going back to around 2017/18, I was struggling to figure out if this was what I wanted," Gauff said to Behind the Racquet. "I always had the results and that wasn't the issue; I just found myself not enjoying what I loved.

I realized I needed to start playing for myself and not other people. For about a year, I was really depressed; that was the toughest year for me so far. Even though I had, it felt like there weren't many friends there for me.

When you are in that dark mindset, you don't look on the bright side of things too often, which is the hardest part. I don't think it had much to do with tennis, maybe just about juggling it all. I knew that I wanted to play tennis but didn't know how I wanted to go about it.

It went so far that I was thinking about possibly taking a year off to just focus on life. Choosing not to was the right choice but I was close to not going in that direction; I was just lost. I was confused and overthinking if this was what I wanted or what others did.

It took many moments sitting, thinking and crying. I came out of it stronger and knowing myself better than ever. Everyone asks me how I stay calm on court and I think it's because I accepted who I am after overcoming low points in my life. Now, when I'm on the court, I am just really thankful to be out there."