Clara Tauson (Getty Images)
Tauson is closing in on a Top 100 debut, and is currently riding a nine-match winning streak across all levels, including an ITF Pro Circuit title in Germany and two qualifying matches in Lyon. Despite the muted atmosphere of the fanless tournament, she can't help but quietly—figuratively and literally—enjoy her breakout week.
“I’m just adapting to the circumstances. I’m not trying to think too much about who is in the crowd. The few people that are there, are mostly players. It’s funny looking out to the stands and seeing [Kristina] Mladenovic or someone watching you. I’m trying to just be on the court and not too much outside the court; that’s too much information coming from the outside if you start thinking about who is there and who isn’t. I’m just trying to on the player in front of me, as well as myself.”
Mladenovic was a potential semifinal opponent for Tauson; instead, she’ll play No. 7 seed Paula Badosa, who shook off a disappointing second set that saw her miss out on three match points to break the former world No. 10 for a decisive victory in the third. Though she may still be new to the scene, the teenager keeps almost-encyclopedic tabs on her competition.
“I’ve watched tennis my whole life, whenever I’ve had the opportunity, on TV or YouTube. You can ask me anything. I know everything about all of the scores there is right now and before. It’s fun for me because I like watching tennis and knowing all the players and results. You’ll never find me in a difficult position if you ask me something about tennis. I know everything! My coach says I’m the Wikipedia of tennis results. I love watching tennis, playing tennis. I love the game.”
Tauson has already won All-Clara Competition; can she go even farther and capture her first WTA title?
“I definitely still have a lot of respect for the WTA players, but by now, I’m playing more and more matches against them. I feel more comfortable and I don’t come on the court scared, the way I may have used to feel.
“Before, I was just happy to play against them, but now I want to win, so that’s changed my mentality a lot, thinking I can beat these kinds of players on a regular basis. I haven’t done that yet, but I believe I can, and that’s a big part of it.”