Novak Djokovic says he will 'keep going' after US Open win
When Serena Williams and Roger Federer both retired and Rafa Nadal close to hanging up his racket as well, Andy Roddick had been worried about where the next big star was coming from, until now. The answer to his question is 19-year-old Coco Gauff, who landed the first Grand Slam of her career last weekend when she came from behind to beat new world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 and clinch the US Open in New York.
In doing so, the American became the first teenager to win the prestigious tournament since a 17-year-old Serena Williams overcame Martina Hingis at Flushing Meadows in 1999.
Gauff demonstrated her star quality potential four years ago when aged just 15, she stunned Wimbledon by knocking five-time champion Venus Williams out in the first round at the All England Club.
With her first major under her belt and now up to third in the world rankings, the sky’s the limit for the Atlanta-born star and former US Open winner Roddick believes the sport has now found its natural successor to the Williams era.
Speaking to Betway, Roddick said: “I was one of the dummies who questioned whether there would be a vacuum in tennis post Roger and Rafa and Serena, so the timing of Coco Gauff’s win couldn’t have been better, especially here in the US.
“Venus and Serena were Coco’s idols, so to announce herself on the Grand Slam stage in the first year of the US Open after Serena’s retirement – a tournament where we saw Serena carry the public interest for a couple of decades – is pretty poetic.
“She didn’t play her best every single match, including the final, so the most impressive thing to me was the adjustment in strategy and turning her average days into three-set wins.
“She tried to go more toe-to-toe with Aryna Sabalenka in the first set and realised that wasn’t going to work, so she needed to make her hit as many shots as possible and rely on her legs.
“She went with the mentality of saying, ‘I’m going to be a volume shooter, you’re going to have to beat me four or five times in a rally and I’m going to bring 25,000 of my closest friends into this match, too.’
“It seemed to be a little too much for Sabalenka, who deserves credit for being the new No 1 in the world. It’s not the US Open title that she wanted, but it’s a hell of a consolation prize.”
Roddick also paid tribute to his former coach Brad Gilbert who successfully trained Andre Agassi and Andy Murray and has been working with Gauff since April, helping her to win 18 of her last 19 matches.
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The former US No. 1 is also enthused by the future of women’s tennis with competition for Slams seriously hotting up this year.
“I couldn’t be happier for my old coach Brad Gilbert,” said Roddick. “I’m sure there were times where he questioned whether he was going to coach again, especially someone that had the potential to win a Grand Slam, but I’m not at all surprised by the success that he’s had with Coco.
“I think he’d been running a lot of those parallels with me from 20 years ago, but the difference is that she’s not going to stop at one. There are dominant forces in women’s tennis, but I don’t think three players are going to win 66 of the next however many Slams, so there’s a much better runway for her.
“With different women’s winners at the four Slams this year, there’s an intriguing level of parity. It seems to be building towards men’s tennis in the 80s, where you had a bunch of players with the potential to win a handful rather than everything resting on one or two people.”
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