August 15, 2020
Coco Gauff just never seems to know when she is beaten.
Remember when she captured hearts all over the world with her heroics at Wimbledon last summer?
Who could forget the 15-year-old’s extraordinary Houdini act against Polona Hercog on Centre Court?
Well here we go again! A year older and no less brave, Coco Gauff just came back from the brink in Lexington, Kentucky.
She trailed 4-6, 2-4 against Tunisian eighth seed Ons Jabeur.
Then her remarkable fighting spirit kicked in once more.
Coco, now 16, said later: ‘I’m always going to fight, no matter what, and try my best, no matter the score.
‘The biggest thing was mentality. Even though I wasn’t playing the way I would’ve liked, I think staying strong and positive definitely kept me in the match today.’
Kept her in the match? She practically obliterated the talented Jabeur from that moment on.
The final score was 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. It was Wimbledon all over again.
And doesn’t it just make us long for Wimbledon 2021 even more?
Think how mentally tough this amazing girl will be by next summer!
Gauff also has a sense of how she is growing in strength with every tennis experience she gets.
Coco explained: ‘The more matches I have, the more experience I get. The more different types of playing styles that I get to play against, the more I’ll get used to that kind of style and how to approach the match.
‘I would say I’ve exceeded expectations, not so much the result but playing-wise. Getting as many matches as I can is the goal right now…I like playing under pressure and pressure is a privilege.’
And it will be a privilege to welcome Coco Gauff back to Centre Court at Wimbledon 2021 for some more high-pressure drama.
We are starting to realise what a big-time player Coco really is. ‘I just enjoy it, and the tough matches are what make tennis fun, so I try my best to just rise to the occasion.’
This young superstar is made for tough matches and memorable occasions at Wimbledon – the place she sees as one big friendly garden.
Can she rise to the occasion at Wimbledon 2021? You bet!
For now she will prepare to take on another player in top form – Jennifer Brady – in the Top Seed semi-final. She beat Marie Bouzkova 6-1, 6-2.
But Serena Williams won’t be there. She was stunned by world number 116 Shelby Rogers despite an impressive start.
Eventually Rogers won through 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5).
‘I have only good things to take,’ said Serena, staying positive. ‘It’s good to know I can play a lot, lot, lot better.
‘I had the opportunity to win in straight sets but I kind of made it difficult for myself by making a plethora of unforced errors.’
She’ll have much better days. Rogers now faces Jill Teichmann.
But there is a certain beauty to the Serena-Coco dynamic in American tennis.
Serena, the living legend searching for the form that will earn her a 24th Slam. Coco, breaking through and looking for her first.
It seems that when one star falters, the other more than makes up for it.
Who doesn’t want to see the incredible Coco and the legendary Serena strut their stuff at Wimbledon 2021?
We can’t wait!