Cori Gauff (Atlanta, USA, 18 years old)Despite her age, she has been known on the WTA circuit for four seasons now. In 2018, aged 15, reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, and since then she is considered the main promise of women’s tennis. ‘Coco’, who made her debut at the Mutua Madrid Open yesterday with a resounding 6-0 and 6-2 victory against Schmiedlova, still does not have a great victory in her career. The American attended AS during the tournament.
How do you feel before playing in Madrid for the second time?
Last year I played here in Madrid, but we were in the bubble, so I really consider this my first time in the city. Today I finish training early and I will try to escape to get to know its streets better. My first impression is that the food is very good, I have already been able to go to some restaurants and they are magnificent. People are also very nice.
Last month he turned 18, but this is already his fourth year in the elite. Does she feel, despite her age, that she is a player with enough experience?
Yes and no. There are games that I watch on repeat after I’ve played them and say ‘oh my gosh, I’ve played in an incredibly stupid way’. But it is true that, compared to three years ago, I play matches in a more intelligent way. So I feel like I have a little bit of experience, but at the same time I feel like I don’t really have it because almost all of my rivals are older. Although I don’t feel it at the moment, when I see the games I lose, it shows that experience makes a difference, especially in tight endings.
This year you have only played one match on clay, how do you face the tournament on this surface?
This tournament is to prepare for Roland Garros, I want to do well here in Madrid because it is a WTA 1,000 category tournament and I like the court.
Are you a player who sets a clear goal before starting each tournament?
In every tournament I play the only thing I want is to win. Yes, when the competition ends, I analyze how far I’ve reached, for example a quarter-final or a semi-final, and I try not to be too disappointed and give it value, appreciate it. I think I can win every tournament I play, but at the same time, especially in these tournaments prior to a Grand Slam, I try to lose in a good way, putting into practice the things I train.
Last year she reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros, but in Madrid she was eliminated in the first round. Does he have a thorn in his side for it?
It’s obviously too bad to go home in the first round. I hope to do better than last year, get through that first round and we’ll see. When I lost last year, I thought my clay court season was going to be rubbish, but suddenly I made it to the quarter-finals in Paris like you said. I try not to put too much pressure on myself in these events, even if you do a bad job here, next week you can be the best in the next tournament. So is tennis.
In doubles, she is number 10 in the world and is achieving good results. Will she always manage it or will there come a time when she will have to prioritize her individual career?
I see myself able to combine it. To be honest, I don’t do any stunt training. People think that, since I’m doing well in the modality, I train a lot. And it’s not like that, maybe the day before a match I do something. But I focus on preparing the individual, which is my priority. I love playing doubles and luckily the hits are coming, but I don’t prepare them too much.
Alcaraz is my favorite for Roland Garros
You have a good relationship with Carlos Alcaraz, you have publicly congratulated him on his latest successes. Do you identify with him as another 18-year-old tennis player who generates a lot of attention?
Carlos is an incredible tennis player, I love watching him play. I have known him for many years, we coincided in several tournaments when we were still children. I entered the professional circuit before, and I did well in my first few tournaments. Now he has entered the men’s circuit and is doing really well. He’s someone I try to learn from, he’s my age and I think even guys have a little harder to get good results being that young. It is more common to see young girls having early success. But Carlos has the potential to go very, very far, and he always supports him. In fact, he is my favorite to win Roland Garros.
You could meet Paula Badosa in the third round, how do you see the Spanish?
This is her home, playing on clay in Spain has to be a plus for her. I have played twice against Paula, once I lost and the other time I won, we already know our styles of play. To play against her, I’ll have to have won two matches first, so that’s my first goal.