The comparisons were always difficult to back because everybody is an individual. Obviously, you can draw parallels between players, but it's a bit more complicated than that. Just because a certain player did something doesn't mean that another player will do the same thing even if they were directly inspired.
Coco Gauff broke out as a teenager at Wimbledon by beating Venus Williams. Comparisons started flying around immediately. The next this, the next that; top among them, the next Serena Williams.
As bold as that prediction was, you could kind of see it. Both broke out at an early age, even though Gauff still rejects comparisons to this day. As time passed, it became increasingly clear that the comparison was a bad one.
Gauff's development was slower, much slower. She would eventually get her maiden Grand Slam this year, and she's still 19. The only reason why it seems slow is because she's been playing since she was 15. She has plenty of time, but reaching Serena Williams' heights seems a bit too much.
In an exclusive talk with Tennis Infinity, Serena Williams' former coach Rick Macci talked about Gauff and how close she actually is to Serena Williams. According to Macci, that comparison is a pretty big jump.
When people say the next Serena. I mean, that's a jump. I don't think you can go to something like that. Let's go back to the US Open. Even though she had a great run, won all those tournaments, she almost lost first round of the US Open.
Even though it might be a jump, there is potential there, according to Macci. He was pretty impressed with how she handled a big moment at the US Open, which certainly helped her win it in the end. Tournaments like that show that she can be dominant. Whether she actually becomes dominant remains to be seen.
And I told this to many people, seven o'clock, Ashe Stadium, Billie Jean King, the prize money equality [celebration], unbelievable pressure, and she won in three sets, and people just said how bad she played. And I looked at it differently. That's a gold nugget that she'll have in her pocket the rest of her career.
The US Open win certainly shifted the narrative, according to Macci, because the expectations have now become much higher. She'll be expected to contend for every Grand Slam she plays in the future. That's added pressure, pressure she'll have to figure out.
You can't script that type of environment and then come out ahead. And then she went on with a few other three set matches. And here we go, she's US Open champion. And now the whole narrative has changed.