Coco Gauff gives advice to those putting pressure on young tennis stars after beating Emma Raducanu at Australian Open

Besides their precocious talent on the tennis court, Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu share a lot in common.

They both emerged onto the international scene as teenagers, with Gauff only 15 when she announced herself with an upset win over Venus Williams as a Wimbledon qualifier in 2019.

A few months later, the hype around the American had built up so much that she seemed to be feeling the pressure when she was visibly emotional after her straight-set loss to defending champion Naomi Osaka in the third round of the US Open.

Gauff (right) was consoled by Naomi Osaka after losing to the defending champion at the 2019 US Open.(PA: Adam Hunger)

Now 18, Gauff is coming off an exceptional 2022 season, marked by an appearance in the Roland-Garros final and a career ranking of four.

Raducanu was also forced into the limelight during her teenage years.

The same year she completed her A-level exams, the Briton won the 2021 US Open at the age of 19.

She is the only qualifier to have won a major in the Open era and became the first British woman in 44 years to win a Grand Slam singles championship.

Emma Raducanu won the US Open 2021 aged 19.(PA: Seth Wenig)

Raducanu has since had mixed fortunes. She was seeded 10th in July last year but hasn’t made it past the second round of a major tournament since her US Open triumph.

His title defense in New York ended in the first round and his ranking slipped to 77, while Gauff halted his progress at this year’s Australian Open with a 6-3, 7-6 loss (7/4) on the Rod Laver Arena. Wednesday night.

In tennis, especially in the women’s game, there is a history of teenage stars who achieved early success and, as a result, drew the burden of expectation from the media and fans of the sport.

Without any mistake on their part, it has caused burnout for some young players over the course of their careers, with the names of Martina Hingis, Jennifer Capriati, Andrea Jaeger and Tracy Austin coming to mind.

Speaking after his win over Raducanu, Gauff feels the pressure on teenage players is unfair.

“I think the fans are excited to see a new face of the game,” Gauff said at Melbourne Park.

“I think it’s also a reminder, even though we haven’t played tennis, we’re just normal teenagers living our lives.

“If we made a mistake, people would say, ‘You’re only 20, you’re 18, you can bounce back.

“I think people have to make the connection with tennis as well. I think tennis is one of those sports, especially in women’s football, used to having young stars. Everyone expects everyone to be at the top of their game.

“If you look at the top 10, everyone is at least 22, apart from Iga (Świątek), she is 21. Everyone is at least 22 years old. I’d say that’s probably best for most athletes at that age. I think people need to remember that and put that into perspective.”

Gauff feels for Raducanu

Coc Gauff and Emma Raducanu hug each other at the Australian Open.
Gauff (left) and Raducanu embrace after their second round match at Rod Laver Arena.(Getty Images: Daniel Pockett)

Gauff sympathizes with Raducanu, now 20, as both had to deal with the high expectations placed on them at a young age.

“I really feel for her. I guess I can relate,” Gauff said.

“I feel like she experienced it on a much higher level than me. But coming on tour young is a different life from juniors, playing in smaller events, for suddenly people who know your name, people who expect you to win all the time.

“For me, last year was my first full year on tour. I think last year was also his first full year. I think that’s something people need to remember and remember.”


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