Garbiñe Muguruza once said “the racquet will talk,” and Coco Gauff’s has had plenty to say over a 13-match winning streak that continued into the China Open on Monday.

The reigning US Open champion, who enjoyed a cultural immersion into China before her first match, surprised the tennis world when she revealed a heavy dose of haters as part of her social media diet after scoring her maiden Grand Slam victory, and elaborated on how negativity has fueled her fire through a career-best stretch.

“I feel like my brain just works different,” Gauff explained after knocking out Ekaterina Alexandrova in straight sets, clarifying her feeds are filtered to prevent a total free-for-all.

“I used to not be on Twitter at all. I'm still really not on Twitter much. But sometimes you get caught up in the scroll,” she added, mirroring comments made by Casper Ruud about Twitter/X’s “wicked” For You page. “The way the page is, the accounts that you interact with, you see yourself. I interact with tennis a lot obviously, so those tweets come up. Obviously, I see about myself, positive and negative.”

Still just 19, Gauff has been a topic of online conversation even before her WTA debut at 14, with debate reaching a fever-pitch following her first-round exit from Wimbledon that had fans and pundits alike questioning her long-term prospects.


She has lost just one match since, winning titles in Washington, D.C, Cincinnati, and Flushing Meadows, defeating the world’s Top 2 of Aryna Sabalenka and Iga Swiatek, and definitively silencing the proverbial haters in the process.

“I wouldn't say negativity is something that's welcome,” Gauff said. “It's more, I don't know, something that I draw inspiration from. I wouldn't recommend everybody to do that.”

Indeed, Gauff’s comments come at a time of renewed debate over online harassment of players, with Daria Saville admitting she feels forced to disable all of her notifications before playing a match to avoid the deluge of negative comments.

“Some of those comments can get out of hand,” Gauff conceded. “But for the most part, I don't know, it's weird, maybe I feed from negativity. That's weird. A lot of players don't like it. For me, I'm very stubborn. I like to argue. I like to prove people wrong.

“My agent and my team advise not to comment back, so I use my racquet to do it.”

Having already booked tickets to the WTA Finals in both singles and doubles, Gauff and her racquet will be plenty busy this fall, and will next face Petra Martic in her Beijing second round.