"Need to get one picture before I don't see him again": Coco Gauff sets Rafael Nadal mission after 'emotional' Roland Garros exit

Tuesday, 28 May 2024 at 07:30
Coco Gauff has a mission before Rafael Nadal retires and that is to get a photo with the legendary Spaniard before she doesn't get to see him ever again.
Gauff thrashed Julia Avdeeva 6-1, 6-1 to begin her Roland Garros campaign. But the issue lied in that she couldn't watch Nadal's send-off against Alexander Zverev in the stadium. Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek were among those watching on and Gauff said she watched it from the press room.
But that she also got a bit emotional watching it as she has watched Nadal all of her life and in particular him winning here with a lot of players including Gauff inspired by his success.
"I was watching it in the press room, but like an office and we were just watching the speech. Luckily, he didn't cry because I think if he cried, I would've cried," she said.
"I was getting a little bit emotional because it's literally all I've ever known my whole life is him winning here so it just sucks to see," she added.
"But I'm also happy that he confirmed he's going to do the Olympics, I'll be there so I need to get like one picture with him before I don't see him again," she said.
"The way he practices is like no other player that I've seen. It's just like, even if I have to like go to my own practice, I'll stop and watch for a couple minutes, which is what I did two days ago when he was practicing. It's just something that inspires you to bring that intensity to everything that you do in life, not just tennis."
"And obviously we all know how nice of a guy he is and how unintentionally funny he is, which I just love watching like Rafa moments on YouTube when he doesn't mean to be funny but it's very funny. So yeah, just everything about him, I think his aura is, you know, one of one, and especially here [the French Open], it's something that won't happen again in the sport."

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