Coco Gauff has revealed the difference a few years on the WTA Tour can make even for a teen prodigy.
Gauff got the better of fellow teen Mirra Andreeva in the second round of the US Open.
In their second Grand Slam meeting there only looked like being one winner as Gauff swept to a 6-3, 6-2 win that took just 72 minutes to complete.
Gauff said after the match that she has learned that young players need to allow themselves to make mistakes and not falling into the trap of comparing oneself to tour veterans who are in their 30s.
She felt that she knew exactly how to avoid being pushed as hard as Andreeva managed in their Paris meeting.
“I just learned then to be aggressive, because if you give her something, she is going to take advantage,” Gauff said.
“She has a great future in front of her – I think she is going to be back on this stage many more times.”
Gauff said that she has learned not to take her errors in matches and losses to heart.
“I think when I was younger I used to think that every match was life or death,” Gauff added.
“When you realise that some of your competitors on tour are in their 30s it puts into perspective that you still have to allow yourself time to make mistakes.
“The losses, as long as you learn from them, they are ok.”
Gauff would note a marked change in the conditions having played her first match at night and turning out against Andreeva during the day.
“Definitely a lot faster,” Gauff said of court conditions on Wednesday.
“The conditions are pretty much similar to where I’m from, I’m from South Florida so I’m just used to the heat and used to sweating but I’m soaked and had to go to the towel a lot to wipe my hands off, but obviously it is a lot faster which I think helps me with the serve especially.
Gauff feels that she now has a confidence in her level that lets her know that she can win matches even when not performing at her absolute peak.
She continued: “I think that I’m capable of winning even when I’m not playing my best, even in the first round [of the US Open] I wasn’t playing my best and I was able to get through that one and today I played much cleaner tennis.
“Also, you know I have to enjoy this if I want to maintain a really long career I have to have fun on the court and I think I’m having fun with the wins and losses.”
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