"It didn't really hit that he was retiring": Coming to grips with post Rafael Nadal era 'weird' for Coco Gauff

Tuesday, 07 May 2024 at 15:29
As a player who has grown up while Rafael Nadal was really in his pomp, Coco Gauff admitted to finding it strange that he was ending his career and that it only hit her when they did the ceremony at the Madrid Open.
Asked about it prior to her Rome Open campaign getting underway as will most players in the coming weeks, it was a source of sadness for Gauff but also she was full of praise for Nadal. Not only as a human being, but also for having that aura that even makes Gauff as a top level tennis star sit back in awe.
"Honestly it's very weird for me as a fan to come to terms with just because the majority of my life he's been the Roland Garros winner. Yeah, I mean, I guess it's now hitting. I think I was in Madrid. It didn't really hit that he was retiring yet. Now when I saw them do the little ceremony after, I was like this is real life, this is for real," said Gauff in press for Rome Open.
"I feel a little bit sad about it because he's definitely one of my favorite players to watch. His mentality and intensity is something I admire. Honestly, he's probably the only player that when I practice on the court next to him, I would literally zone out of my practice to watch him.
"I've practiced against - not against - but next to some incredible players on tour. He's the only one that my eye wonders to. No disrespect to other players, but it's something about him and his aura and the intensity in which he does everything. It's just something to me as a young player to look up to.
"Also just the grace he shows. He's a very nice person. I remember last year at Roland Garros, he touched me on the back and said, Hi, good job. I didn't respond like till 20 tiles already down the stairs because I couldn't believe he spoke to me. I think it's little things like that that I'll miss seeing on tour. The way he carries himself is just great. His legacy is going to be something that is almost, like, unmatched when it comes to just the intensity in which he approaches everything. I think that's something that the players will miss and the fans will miss.”

Coco Gauff says it’s been sad to come to terms with Rafa Nadal retiring, his legacy will be ‘unmatched’ in terms of his intensity & how he approaches things “A quick question about Rafael Nadal. Coming up to the end of his career. Specifically his last time at the French Open.…


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