Coco Gauff has claimed that people don’t realise the work needed to improve her forehand. The shot has notoriously been the 19-year-old’s weaker side but she showed that she was becoming more solid after winning the biggest title of her career in Washington. But Gauff revealed that she would need to stop playing for a real intervention.
Gauff reached a new milestone last week as she won her first title at WTA 500 level at the Mubadala Citi DC Open. The world No 7 recently made some coaching changes which have already paid off as she continues to field questions over the reliability of her forehand.
The American hired Pere Riba before the Eastbourne International and recently added Andy Murray’s former coach Brad Gilbert to her team. Ahead of this week’s Canadian Open, Gauff explained just why it had been so difficult to vastly improve the quality of the forehand while continuing to play on the tour.
And she shed light on a little-known issue – with players being left with the prospect of taking time away from tennis just to properly nail down a shot. Asked when she realised it was something her opponents picked on, the teenager said: “I mean, I would say the last couple of years.
“I mean, it’s obviously something that I needed to work on, and it has gotten better.” But the four-time title winner also thought that people underestimated how tough it was to try and tighten up the forehand without a proper training block away from competition.
She continued: “You know, a lot of people don’t realise it’s not easy to fix things while you’re playing. I didn’t want to take time off from playing. I still felt like I had a shot in the Slams. I mean, I made a Slam final last year.
“So it’s something that I needed to work on, and it’s still something I needed to work on. And even on my backhand side, there’s shots that I think that I can work on that wing too.” Gauff already believes she’s managed to make strides following her week in Washington, where she said she felt more stable from the forehand side.
“I mean, it’s not a secret. Everybody is trying to play the forehand. Like, I’m not going to sit here and act like it’s some secret,” she explained after her title win. “Anybody who’s watching the matches can see that.
“And I think today I was winning a lot, honestly, you know, today I was telling myself to stay in those forehand rallies with her, because I felt like I was winning a lot of them and she was trying to change and get out of them.
“I think that’s what kept me in it longer, which I feel like in the past I probably would have been, like, I need to get out of these rallies. But now I feel like I’m really stable on that side.”