'I Want To Return Like Him': Gauff On Learning From 'Best Returner' Djokovic

'I Want To Return Like Him': Gauff On Learning From 'Best Returner' Djokovic

by Zachary Wimer

Coco Gauff is pretty set on becoming a good returned, and she watched Novak Djokovic to see how he does it.

Tennis is not a complicated sport, but there are plenty of intricacies that can make a lot of difference. The serve and the return are some of those things, as the former is the only shot you can fully control while the latter is a shot that can create a lot of advantages.

It's especially so in women's tennis, where the proportion of players having big serves is much less compared to the men's side of the sport. Some of the best returners in women's tennis have a much easier time winning points than others, especially since most second serves on the WTA Tour are pretty weak.

When it comes to Gauff, she got inspired by Serena Williams to work on her returns, and towards that goal, she looked at Novak Djokovic and how he does it. The Serbian is widely regarded as one of the best returners ever, and Gauff wants to get to that level.

"I've watched a lot of Novak because I want to return like him. He's probably the best returner. Yeah, he definitely is. I want to return like him. If you look at his swings on the returns, it's not like full cuts. It's a lot shorter and abbreviated to when he actually hits."

Copying something is not easy, and Gauff is not keen on copying. She looked at Djokovic to understand the model behind his return, and she kind of figured out what the trick was.

She's going to try to replicate that and, so far, has had a pretty decent time with it. She realizes that when someone is serving hard, she can just use their pace against them.

"I realize when you're serving, someone is serving hard, you can just use their pace against them. I think that's the model. Sometimes it's not always easy, but that's something I feel like is what I work on and practice on a lot."

The American won her second-round match at the Australian Open, improving to a 7-0 record this year. She won 5 matches in Auckland to start the year successfully defending her trophy from last year.


You may also like