How Can Coco Gauff Become World No. 1 Early In 2024

How Can Coco Gauff Become World No. 1 Early In 2024

by Nurein Ahmed

Coco Gauff can mount an assault at the World No. 1 ranking in 2024, and there is a feasible chance it could happen as early as the first half of next season.

Gauff finished the 2023 season at a career-best ranking of No. 3, replacing Jessica Pegula as USA's top-ranked woman in the process. Since she broke the world's Top 10 in the summer of 2022, Gauff has never looked back and is now aiming to climb to new heights next year.

The 19-year-old had a stunning campaign during the US swing, where she won three titles, including a maiden Grand Slam. Gauff joined a gaudy list of former American players who won a Grand Slam as teenagers in the Open Era. These included Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, and Serena Williams.

One thing the trio had in common was that they would reach the World No. 1 ranking. Gauff's US Open is expected to serve as a catalyst in her rise to become World No. 1 at some point next year. So, how could she actually achieve it?

A sneak peek at the rankings reveals that Gauff's name is closer than ever to that elusive milestone. Gauff finished with 6,580 points and will start the new season defending 520 points.

She was a champion in Auckland (280 points) and made the fourth round of the 2023 Australian Open (240 points). Aryna Sabalenka defends the most points thanks to her success at the Australian Open this season.

The Belarusian was also a champion in Adelaide in the build-up to the year's first major in 2023. In total, she needs to retain 2,470 points. The odds are stacked against the Belarusian from becoming No. 1 after the 2024 Australian Open.

Remarkably, the gap between Gauff and Sabalenka stands at 2,470 points. But Gauff is not only fighting Sabalenka for the World No. 1 spot but also the current holder of that distinction Iga Swiatek. The Pole doesn't defend plenty of points in Melbourne.

Like Gauff, she was knocked out in the fourth round stage of this year's tournament (240 points) and is not going to earn more than 500 points at next year's United Cup. While the young American has a solid chance of passing Sabalenka after the Australian Open, she's unlikely to topple Swiatek even if she won the year's first Grand Slam.

But should Gauff win the Australian Open, it will significantly harness her chances of becoming World No. 1 during the Middle East swing or at the Sunshine Swing in March. She'll certainly be on at least 8000 ranking points at the end of January if it happens, which will likely take her above Sabalenka into second place.

Swiatek defends 1,370 points in tournaments in the Gulf region in Doha and Dubai. But should the Pole make the semifinal in Melbourne and possibly win the United Cup before that, then it will be impossible for Gauff to overtake her.

Gauff's best bet in this case would be to continue racking up points in the first quarter of the season and not lose sight of the Pole. In 2023, Swiatek admitted she never liked the idea of being chased down by an opponent in keeping her ranking, so eventually that pressure weighed on her shoulders.

If Gauff and maybe even Sabalenka end up combining to knock her from her perch, we might start to see cracks. Swiatek is defending a ton of points between February and June.

The 19-year-old, meanwhile, defends the fewest among the trio in that period. It is likely to be the lead time for Gauff and the No. 1 ranking might have a new name at the start of the grass swing.


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