'So Close Last Time': Why Roland Garros Is Gauff's Priority Grand Slam In 2024

'So Close Last Time': Why Roland Garros Is Gauff's Priority Grand Slam In 2024

by Nurein Ahmed

Coco Gauff became a Grand Slam champion for the first time at last year's US Open, but only a half-wit person would bet against her not adding to that number.

Gauff memorably defeated World No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in front of her family and home fans last September to win the New York Slam. She became the youngest American to win the US Open since Serena Williams.

Since she burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old at the 2019 Wimbledon, Gauff's precocious talent has been easily noticeable. She appeared as the next teenager in line to go on and achieve big things, and several tennis fans' prophetic judgment became true.

The only surprise is that it took her four more years before she blossomed into an elite player. But not many teenagers in the current generation can raise their hands and claim to be major champions.

This season, Gauff was eliminated in the semifinal stage of the Australian Open by eventual champion Sabalenka, who avenged her US Open defeat. That is only a speedbump in Gauff's march to greatness.

She is already setting her sights on winning her second major title and has been working with some of the sharpest minds in the game to help her get there. The 19-year-old spent a few days during the off-season fine-tuning her serve under the watchful eyes of former World No. 1 Andy Roddick.

With three more majors to play for this year and the Olympic Games (which she missed in 2021 due to a positive coronavirus test), it would be foolhardy to ignore Gauff's name on the list of potential winners.

In a recent interview with Vogue Magazine, the World No. 3 explained that the French Open is the one Grand Slam she wants to win this year. She regards Paris as her favorite city and is also determined to make up for her absence at the Tokyo Olympics by winning this year's Olympic tennis tournament too.

"I would say the biggest things on there are to win another Slam, and a medal at the Olympics. I really want to do well or win Roland Garros because I just felt like I was so close last time. Paris is my favorite city, so I do want to try to win there. That would be special."

Gauff was beaten by Iga Swiatek in the 2022 Roland Garros final. That defeat has only served as a springboard to reach even greater heights. But even if she stumbled on the Parisian clay this season, winning Wimbledon or the US Open for a second time would still be a welcome return.

"But obviously, if it’s not Roland Garros, I’d be very happy to win Wimbledon or the US Open."


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