Coco Gauff warns 'best yet to come' as she chases first Grand Slam title | Inquirer Sports

Coco Gauff warns ‘best yet to come’ as she chases first Grand Slam title

/ 03:11 PM January 14, 2023

Jan 13, 2023; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Coco Gauff of the United States hits a shot during a practice session on the Kia Arena at Melbourne Park.

Jan 13, 2023; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Coco Gauff of the United States hits a shot during a practice session on the Kia Arena at Melbourne Park. Mandatory Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports/Files

Rising teenage star Coco Gauff warned Saturday at the Australian Open that her “best is yet to come” as she goes in search of a maiden Grand Slam crown.

The 18-year-old American has the honor of playing in Monday’s opening match on the showpiece Rod Laver Arena against the Czech Republic’s world number 48 Katerina Siniakova.

Seventh-ranked Gauff heads into the first Grand Slam of the year on a high after winning her third WTA title at the Auckland Classic earlier this month.

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She is riding at her highest career ranking after breaking into the top 10 last year and reaching a Grand Slam final for the first time, losing to Iga Swiatek at Roland Garros.

“As much as I would like to think this might be the best I’ll be, I don’t believe it because I feel like most of the tennis players, at least on tour now, are peaking in their career around 22 to 26,” said Gauff.

Gauff first won hearts as a 15-year-old in 2019 at Wimbledon when she arrived as a qualifier and reached the last 16, beating five-time champion Venus Williams along the way.

“From 15 when I started to now I realise physically I’m at a much different level than I was at 15. I think I’m just continuing to get stronger,” said Gauff.

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“There’s a joke that my mum has. She is like, ‘You don’t have that grown woman strength yet. You’ll know when you get it.’

“I can’t put a percent on it, but I know the best is yet to come for me.”

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Gauff would become the youngest Australian Open champion since a 16-year-old Martina Hingis in 1997 if she goes on to lift the winner’s Daphne Akhurst Cup, but she said she almost feels like a veteran.

“I think I’ve been on tour for four years now. I don’t know how I feel. I definitely feel more experienced and like I belong,” said Gauff, who won her first WTA Tour title in 2019.

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“I don’t feel like the new kid, but I don’t think I feel quite a vet. I feel like I’m in the middle of the pack.”

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TAGS: Australian Open, Coco Gauff, Grand Slam

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