Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai

February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 18- March 2, 2024
Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium
February 22, 2024

Coco Gauff – R16 Press Conference – 2024 Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

2024 Women's Singles R16: C. GAUFF/K. Pliskova 2-6, 6-4, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Coco, congratulations on reaching the quarterfinal. How pleased are you with the win today?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I’m happy. Obviously wasn’t the best tennis that I played. I think especially as she’s playing well the last couple matches. I’m happy with how I was able to manage.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. I’m not sure if you’ve seen the video from the court to here.


Q. You were right.

COCO GAUFF: I was, okay. I knew I was (smiling).

I mean, I don’t usually advocate for that hard for things unless I’m 100% sure. I don’t want to get the reputation with the refs from US Open to here.

Yeah, I figured. How late was it?

Q. It was like you said.

COCO GAUFF: Okay, so I guess is he going to apologize? I’ll let you know.

Q. You’ll chase him down.

COCO GAUFF: I won’t chase him down, no (laughter).

Q. How did you calm yourself down after that? You did hold serve, but you got broken trying to serve it out.

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I think for me, learning from that at US Open, I think I lost two or three games in a row once I argued. I probably did drag it out longer. I was frustrated.

So I think after that, when I walked away, I was like, Okay, don’t let one point turn into a three- or four-point ordeal.

Yeah, I definitely was able to reset after that. Yeah, I put myself in the position to win that set.

Q. How big of a win did this feel like for you, given just form, momentum, making another quarter, the way the match went out? Did it feel big?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, it definitely felt like a good win because Doha, I didn’t play well. I feel like here I haven’t been playing the best.

Especially an opponent like her, which I feel like she’s been playing well since the start of the year, coming back from injury. Even though her ranking is probably not where it should be considering the caliber of player she is, I think it definitely felt like a top win for me.

Hopefully I can continue to use that to build my confidence going into the rest of this week.

Q. In the first set I think you had like eight double-faults. You weren’t really feeling the serve. What adjustments did you make in the second set?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I think I started to go for less on the serve. I think for me, the biggest thing I noticed from playing from day to night, the day is so much faster than night. I feel like I was missing a lot of serves long on both first and second. In the second I told myself I’m just going to get the serve in, get rhythm. If I consistently start making serves, then go big.

Yeah, I think for me it was just adjusting from the day to the night. Even in the warm-up, I ended up changing to a higher tension after the warm-up. I just felt, like, a big difference. Stadium court is way faster than the practice courts. All that plays a factor.

I’m glad I was able to trust my gut and make those adjustments.

Q. Congratulations on the win and being in the list of Time Women of the Year. I wanted your thoughts on what example you want to set for all the women out there, regardless of whether it’s sport or outside, the sort of leadership role you want to see people take up?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I think for me, I would say the biggest thing is that you’re more than whatever social construct puts you in. For me, I like to say I’m more than a tennis player. Especially in this day and age, I will say growing up in tennis, coming from the lineage like Billie Jean King, Venus Williams, Althea Gibson, I feel like this sport is very popular in advocating for equality and justice. I feel comfortable doing that.

Growing with my family, my family history, I feel like that’s just something I knew, whether I was going to be a tennis player or not, even if I was a kid in a high school, a regular high school, I would probably be part of some club or something to that degree. I just feel like that’s something I’ve been passionate about since I was little.

Q. What does it mean to you that you made that list? I know you just didn’t find out.

COCO GAUFF: No, it means a lot. I feel very honored. I don’t know who else is part of the list. I’m going to look at it now. I’m sure it’s among some amazing women.

Yeah, I don’t think I was expecting that, to be honest. When it was brought to my attention, I don’t know, I wasn’t expecting it. It’s really cool. I’m excited.

The event is right before Indian Wells. It’s in L.A. It’s one of the things that my tennis schedule allows me to go to, so I’m really excited to attend that and be among some incredible women, just hear their stories from their background, maybe try to apply it to my own life.

Q. Taking a stand, being outspoken, being an advocate can generate backlash. There’s always going to be people that disagree with you. How do you manage that? You are in the public eye. You’re on social media. How do you deal with that?

COCO GAUFF: For me, I feel like a lot of times I usually do put a lot of thought in things before I say anything.

I think we can all have a conversation. Most people I would say when it comes to things like that – tennis I feel like people are more disrespectful about that – actual real issues other than how bad I’m playing, people are usually respectful in disagreement. That’s at least from what I see. There’s probably some comments I don’t see. I do filter a lot of it.

For me, if you disagree, that’s fine, unless obviously if it comes to disagreeing about somebody’s way to live, right to live, that’s different.

I don’t know. I just feel like I have to take a strong stance. Yeah, I feel like every figure in history that we studied that we considered great people, there was a lot of people during that time that considered them a terrible person.

My goal is to tell my grandkids that I was on the right side of history. That’s why I’m not too worried about that.

But I always do look at comments to see other people’s opinion. I’m not saying everything I say is right. I do like to see all sides of things.

For Twitter? Twitter can be a little mean. I sometimes on and off delete that. Everything else is pretty chill, I would say.

Q. Having also won a Grand Slam, the potential of people seeing you, do you think people are still quick to judge on whether you should stick to just sport?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I mean, a lot of people, every time I say anything, a lot of people, especially they like to bring my age into it a lot. If anything in this world, age I feel like doesn’t mean a lot. There’s intelligent older people, intelligent young people. There are dumb older people, dumb younger people. It’s all in perspective.

A lot of people like to criticize that. A lot of people like to say, maybe if I lose they’ll say, She needs to focus on her tennis instead of doing this, doing even shoots and stuff.

I always contemplated having A Day in My Life so people could see what I’m doing. I’m practicing three or four hours in the morning, then doing the shoot (smiling).

Obviously tennis is the main priority. Once I step off the court, I’m a person. I’m not hitting strokes while I’m eating food and everything. I’m actually thinking.

I’m a person. I have opinions. I have thoughts. I feel like I have a responsibility with the platform tennis has given me to not use it in vain, so yeah.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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