"It's always the first for me" - Coco Gauff discloses her unique relationship with red clay

Thursday, 06 June 2024 at 05:00
Although most American tennis stars are not known for their dominance on clay, rising star Coco Gauff recently revealed her love and appreciation for the red surface.
Gauff is set to face World No.1 Iga Swiatek in the Roland Garros semifinals. The Polish star is the two-time defending champion, and is undoubtedly the best WTA player on court. Nonetheless, Gauff remains optimistic about their showdown, and spoke about her relationship and love for the red dirt.
"Red clay is honestly something that I grew up on, something I've been playing on since I was ten years old," she said prior to the start of the French Open. "It's always the first for me, my breakout [surface]: My first junior Grand Slam was on red clay. My first major quarter-final was on red clay, my first final... It's a lot of 'firsts' for me on the surface and [that] gives me a lot of confidence. The goal is to win French Open. One day... and hopefully it can be this year."
With the upcoming Olympic Games being hosted in Paris this year, the tennis event will occur on the hallowed grounds of Roland Garros. Gauff gave her thoughts on the Olympics being held on clay, which last happened at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.
"It's going to be weird playing the Olympics at Roland-Garros because... you know, we're just used to it being Roland-Garros," said Gauff. "I'm really happy that the Olympics are on red clay because I don't remember the last time that's happened. I'm really, really happy to play on clay."
Although the Atlanta native is one of the biggest tennis stars on the planet, she still has a very strong relationship with her parents. Both are former collegiate athletes and Gauff revealed how much she relied on them during the early years of her early career.
"They definitely helped me a lot," added the 20-year old. "Not even just growing up, but now. And I think, even though they played at a collegiate level, D-I is a very tough level for sports. And they understand the pressures behind it and you understand the mentality you have to have.
They always supported me. With their parents, you know, [they were] probably short-sighted with them and how far they felt like they could go. So when I was growing up, my parents made sure to never... if I said, 'I want to be this.' 'I want to be that.' They never they're like, 'No, it's tough to do that.'" They were like, 'Okay, let's do it.' And, you know, [they told me]: 'If you want to do that, you have to work hard."

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