Coco Gauff displayed absolute dominance and fierce determination in her US Open quarterfinal match against Jelena Ostapenko, only losing two games. This could have been a challenging match for the young American, but she showed no mercy.
Despite her inconsistent play, Ostapenko was predicted to challenge Gauff’s chances of winning the title, due to her impressive performance in New York. However, she was swiftly defeated 6-0, 6-2 in just over an hour.
Gauff has once again taken her game up a level this season – in particular during the second half of the year – as the 19-year-old continues her ascent to tennis stardom.
Gauff’s improvements were evident in her match against Ostapenko. She effectively countered her opponent’s powerful shots with her own strong ground strokes and maintained a high level of accuracy and consistency, something that her opponent was not able to achieve.
The progress in Gauff’s physical abilities has been evident to everyone at Flushing Meadows. However, the sixth-ranked player in the world shared an understanding of the steps taken to develop the mental stamina needed for successful performances in major tournaments.
“I believe it varies for each individual,” she informed the reporters. “It involves a process of trial and error. Through my own experiences, I have discovered that during these moments, I should not place excessive pressure on myself during matches because there is always pressure in tournaments.”
“The competition is always fierce and the desire to win is strong. As I’ve progressed to this level, I’ve learned how to handle it better. Some players come onto the tour with that mindset already, while others have to develop it.”
“I believe this is a natural aspect of life and the learning process. That is why it can be challenging for someone to maintain success after achieving it initially, as they may not have experienced this situation before.”
“The longer I’ve been in this role, the more I’ve been able to develop the skills to effectively manage it.”
My life is fortunate.
The pressure will increase even more as Gauff prepares to compete against Karolína Muchová in the US Open semifinals on Thursday.
The spotlight is never brighter on a player than when playing at a home grand slam, but Gauff has handled the occasion with a maturity that belies her years, not once appearing to suffer under the weight of expectation.
Nevertheless, the adolescent acknowledges that this was not always true, and learning to manage stress as she currently does was a gradual process.
Gauff mentioned that one of the most beneficial factors in aiding her during that process was gaining a better perspective of her life when she began to feel overwhelmed.
“In the beginning, I used to have negative thoughts,” she reflected. “I questioned why there was so much pressure and why things seemed so difficult. But then I realized that while it may feel like pressure, it’s not really. There are people out there who are facing real struggles, like feeding their families and not knowing where their next meal will come from. It puts things into perspective.”
I am faced with true pressure, true challenges, and the realities of life. I am fortunate to be in a privileged position where I am able to pursue what I am passionate about and receive support for it. I am grateful for this opportunity and do not take it for granted.
“I have come to realize the value of my life, particularly living in New York where this perspective is more prominent,” stated Gauff. “I am fortunate and I intend to savor every moment.”
“I am aware that there are countless individuals who aspire to be in my current position. Therefore, instead of questioning ‘Why me?’ or ‘Why not someone else?’, I should embrace this opportunity and ask myself, ‘Why not me? Why am I not taking pleasure in this moment?'”
Gauff expressed her joy and enjoyment for playing tennis, which is clearly visible when she steps onto the court. She shared, “I reminded myself to just have fun with it.”
Her interviews and press conferences also reflect her enjoyment, as Gauff remains friendly, genuine, and humorous. These qualities have made her increasingly popular not only among American fans, but also among those worldwide.
According to Gauff, it is beneficial to “avoid dwelling on the outcome” and instead simply enjoy the experience.
She expressed gratitude for her fortunate life and acknowledged that she does not want to overlook it. She believes that reflecting on her blessings helps her appreciate how lucky she is.