Coco Gauff told how she will handle pressure of US Open win with Raducanu dig

Coco Gauff will cope better with the pressure of becoming a teenage US Open winner than Emma Raducanu, Chris Evert has claimed.

The new American sporting superstar claimed her first Grand Slam title with a thrilling comeback win over new world No.1 Aryna Sabalenka.

She is the first teenage American to claim the title here since her idol Serena Williams in 1999 – and the youngest winner since 18-year-old Raducanu in 2021.

The British star had just finished her A levels when she became the first qualifier to win a Major when she was ranked world No.150. She has since struggled with her form and injuries – she is currently recovering from wrist and ankle surgeries – and is back down to world No.185.

Gauff is only 19 but the childhood prodigy has been in the spotlight since beating Venus Willliams at Wimbledon in 2019 as a 15-year-old and beating Venus Williams. She also reached the 2022 French Open final and was No.6 seed here.

ESPN analyst Evert won her first of 18 Major titles at the 1974 French Open aged 19 after losing the finals in Paris and Wimbledon the year before. And the American legend said: “I am glad Coco Gauff did not win as a younger teenager because it can be a bad thing for players. There are examples of that. Look at Emma Raducanu.

“It puts a lot of pressure on the player because they are not emotionally developed yet and they cannot handle it. Coco is now ready to win.”

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When Gauff was 10, she was selected to attend Patrick Mouratoglou’s academy in France and when asked about her goals, she told Serena Williams’ former coach:  “I want to be the greatest of all time.”

She then won the 12-under Junior Orange Bowl title aged 12 to follow in the footsteps of fellow Grand Slam winners Steffi Graf (1981), Monica Seles (1985) and Jennifer Capriati (1986).

Gauff has grown up in the public eye. After her emotional win in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, she said: “I feel like this is a big achievement, but honestly, I feel like I’ve been so used to this since I was basically 15 years old in high school, doing online school, just used to it. I’m sure it might be a much bigger scale now because of this achievement, but I’m ready. I embrace it. I know how to keep my peace but also embrace all of this around me.

“I think the pressure has been a little bit taken off a little bit, and I still am hungry for more. I’m just going to enjoy this and try not to look into the future.”

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But in her victory speech, the teenager hit back at doubters on social media. “Those who were putting water on my fire were really putting gasoline on it and now I am burning so bright,” she said.

And she confessed about struggling with the expectation following her Wimbledon breakthrough. “It’s been difficult,” she admitted. “Iit’s been a long journey to this point. I wasn’t a fully developed player, and I still think I had a lot of development to go at that moment. I think people were putting a lot of pressure on me to win. I felt that at 15, I had to win a slam at 15.

“Now I just realise that I just need to go out there and try my best. It was to the point where I remember I lost when I was 17 and there was a stat, they were like: ‘Oh, she’s not going to win a slam before Serena’s age’.

“It was stuff like that that I felt like I had a time limit on when I should win one, and if I won one after a certain age it wouldn’t be an achievement. It’s just crazy the amount of things that I have heard or seen about myself, but I’m really happy of how I’ve been able to manage it all.”

And Gauff admitted losing the 2022 French Open final to Iga Swiatek had helped her win her second Major final.

“During the match, I told myself that regardless of the result, my family is still going to love me, my life is still going to be great,” she said. “I think after the French, I literally thought my life was going to end. I realised that it didn’t because I lost and life still goes on so I told myself today: ‘Life is still going to go on’ and I was happy I was just able to go out there and enjoy the moment.”

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