Coco Gauff now finds herself in a vastly different situation to the one Emma Raducanu did following her US Open victory two years ago. Both tennis stars triumphed as teenagers at Flushing Meadows but American Gauff has been backed to end her career with double-figure Grand Slams.
Martina Navratilova believes winning the US Open meant so much to Gauff, evidenced by her incredulous celebrations inside the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Her first Grand Slam success, the 19-year-old dropped to the floor and was later seen emotionally celebrating with her parents.
That is a contrasting situation to Raducanu who, while passionately celebrating her victory in 2021, might not have had such strong feelings for the competition as a British player. Lifting the Wimbledon title might have meant more to the Bromley-based starlet, and could have provided better momentum for further Grand Slam success.
Despite her young years, Gauff has been well known to tennis fans for four years. An incredible run at Wimbledon in 2019 saw her beat her childhood icon Venus Williams aged just 15. When Raducanu won the title, she had only recently entered the public consciousness thanks to a stunning fourth-round run at Wimbledon two months prior.
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And so Gauff finds herself in a more advantageous position than Raducanu did in 2021. Navratilova has backed the Florida-born star to win ‘double-figure’ Grand Slams.
“She will win double-figure majors if she stays fit. We were talking [about] the big three. Now it’s the big four. It’s Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Elena Rybakina and Coco Gauff,” the tennis icon told Sky Sports.
“She has no pressure on her now because now she’s won this one, so the expectations have been met. I think the confidence that she’ll get from this, she’s just getting started. Now she’s got some time to get better.
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“Neither player played their best tennis but Coco played the best tennis when she needed to get back into the match in the second set. In the third set she played smart. She didn’t give Sabalenka anything to hit.
“Just see how much it meant to her. You have to trust yourself that you can put it together.
“She’s such a great role model for young kids growing up who want to play tennis or just achieve something because she had a dream. Now she’s achieved it. She’s one of those people that will make a difference in the world in a positive way.”
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