(August 30, 2023) FLUSHING, NY – No. 6 Coco Gauff needed just an hour and 16 minutes to knock out 16-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday at the US Open to advance to the third round. The 19-year-old American played aggressively, approaching the net 18 times to keep her opponent off balance. Gauff last played Andreeva at the French Open when she was pushed to three sets by the Russian.
It’s rare for Gauff to play someone younger that she is but showed nothing but support and encouragement after the match.
“Mirra, she’s going to be a great player, I think with the more matches she has, the more experience she has,” said Gauff in he media conference. “I really see myself in her.”
“These matches are tough. So I told her, like, she’s playing good at the net. Keep doing up. I think for me that adjustment just happened a lot with age and also with, you know, the new team and just hearing new things.
“So I don’t know. I think today that just reminded me, I don’t know, playing a younger person just reminded me how far I have come and I should be proud of myself. That process is necessary and those losses are necessary for growth.”
“I’m really happy with how I played. Last time I played her, we had a longer match. Split sets. So today I was really trying to take advantage of when I was in the lead and continuing to be aggressive.
“I’m happy I was able to get it in straight sets. Not a long match like the three hours last match. Saved myself some time today.”
Gauff spoke at great length about how much she admires Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz in terms of their movement and athleticism and rivalry.
“Somebody who I look up to a lot movement-wise is definitely Novak and definitely Carlos. I think they’re both people that are seating their fill when it comes to — well, obviously the tennis, but obviously physically and footwork-wise. It’s something I’m trying to work on.
“I do think I have the athleticism as them — not like the same as them — but compared to my field. So I’m hoping I can continue to learn by watching them. I was watching Alcaraz last night.”
“I saw the French Open match and I saw the Wimbledon final,” Gauff said. “I did not see the whole Cincinnati final because I was flying home the same time as the final. So I missed the match live. I saw bits and pieces from it but I didn’t see the whole thing.
“Yeah, I can’t remember when they played again, but I saw most of their matchups. Obviously I watch them a lot when they’re playing other people.
“The thing I’ve learned the most is how they’re able to handle the situations when they’re not playing their best tennis. For instance, Carlos in Cincinnati, he was losing a set every match pretty much and he wasn’t playing his best, that was clear. I don’t know. The way that he was still smiling, for me, against Hubi Hurkacz and he was down a set and a break or something like that, I don’t know, he was down crazy or down match points. He was still smiling.
“I was, like, if he can smile, he’s No. 1 in the world and he has all this pressure, he’s supposed to beat Hubi on paper, then I can do it in situations maybe where, most of the time now I’m not the underdog, but against, for example, like Iga or Sabalenka, those where I’m considered the underdog on paper, I can smile too.
“I think I learned the most about their joy in matches and how I can transfer that. Because I have a lot of joy in me but I just seem to bottle it up when I play. Now I’m really just having fun and laughing and smiling, and I think it’s making tennis more enjoyable.”
Gauff talked about how she feels when she watches them play each other: “Oh, it’s incredible. The limits of the game, to be honest. They’re breaking the limits of tennis.
“You know, as you watch the generations of tennis, everybody in their generation, you know, thinks, for me watching, I’m like, man, 30 years from now, you know how you watch tapes from 40 years ago, they’re not playing bad but the level is definitely different, and I’m watching the matches and I’m like, I don’t know how, like, 40 years from now how the level can be really so exceed this.
“I think it’s peak tennis, to be honest. Not just their matchups. I’ve watched Novak play against Roger, Rafa, those two, it’s just peak tennis. I don’t know. It’s crazy, it’s a one-in-a-generation type of thing, and Novak is a one-in-a-generation type of player, and so is Carlos, and they’re playing each other on two different spectrums. I don’t know. I can talk about this all day. It’s really cool.”
Gauff will face 32nd-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium in the third-round as she rallied past American Danielle Collins 3-6, 7-6 (9), 6-1.
More to follow….