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Taking "a step back", Coco Gauff brings different mentality to Roland Garros quarterfinal return
Having felt she missed a big opportunity in Paris last year with a wide-open draw, the 18-year-old isn't approaching the field that way this time around.
Published May 30, 2022
ROLAND GARROS HIGHLIGHTS: Gauff blows past Mertens
Coco Gauff is back in the Roland Garros quarterfinals, but with a very different mentality from a year ago.
The 18-year-old American warmed up for the clay-court Grand Slam by reaching the third round of Madrid and Rome, and is developing consistency on the surface.
"I definitely feel confident on the court. I feel like it really suits my game. Yeah, and I feel like, you know, the previous tournaments this clay season I had some good wins," Gauff told press following her victory in the fourth round against Elise Mertens. "For sure on clay, yeah, I feel a lot of confidence."
Making her final-eight debut at a major in 2021 here, Gauff got frustrated when her play dipped but now says she's improved her ability to regain her game.
"You're never going to play your best tennis in every moment of the match, but I think I'm getting better and better, and I think mentally I can't ask for much more from myself in each match," she said.
And something else that's different—she's not looking at the draw. Though most of the top names have fallen before the second week, much like a year ago, Gauff is concentrating on her next opponent rather than the field.
"I was thinking like if I could have got through that quarterfinal maybe I could have won the tournament because I saw the other side was opening up, and this time coming in I'm not thinking about it like that," she said.
"For me I look at it in a way every day, no matter who you play, you have the chance to win the match no matter their ranking or their seed or anything".
That was even further reinforced by qualifier Emma Raducanu's surprise win at the 2021 US Open, notes Gauff.
"And not even just US Open, but previous tournaments, where people thought bigger players will win," she said.
"I think really we just have to take a step back, especially in the Grand Slams... and not look at rankings anymore, because I think anybody can win."
Gauff looks to move into her first major semifinal Tuesday against countrywoman Sloane Stephens, the 2018 runner-up.