Coco Gauff told she allowed ‘coaching to consume all her focus’ as struggles against top-20 players are highlighted

Shahida Jacobs
Coco Gauff frustrated during her match
A frustrated Coco Gauff reacts during her match

Coaching in tennis was supposed to take some of the burden off players, but Coco Gauff became too “consumed” by it during her defeat to Emma Navarro at Wimbledon, according to tennis analyst Gill Gross.

Reigning US Open champion Gauff lost her fourth-round encounter against her fellow American in straight sets and she was clearly frustrated with her coaching team throughout the match as she felt she needed more input from Brad Gilbert and Jean-Christophe Faurel.

After the match, she admitted that she “wanted more direction” from the sidelines.

“We had a game plan going in. I felt that it wasn’t working. I don’t always ask for advice on the box. Today was one of those rare moments where I felt I didn’t have solutions,” she explained.

“I don’t want to say I didn’t have any because I think I’m a capable player of coming up with some. I think today mentally there was a lot going on. I felt like I wanted more direction from the box.

“It’s happened before. I wouldn’t say it’s happened before with the combination of JC and Brad, but it’s happened before in the past where I felt like I needed more direction. They usually give me something.

“I felt today I don’t think we were all in sync. It’s no one’s blame except myself. I mean, I’m the player out there. I have to make decisions for myself on the court.”

Coaching at Grand Slams is now part and parcel of the game after it received the green light at the beginning of 2023 and, while some players like a lot of input from their team, others prefer not to talk to their box during matches.

Tennis Channel’s Gross feels Gauff got a bit too distracted by the coaching situation during the match.

“I’ve always accepted the line of thinking that legalized on-court coaching unburdens the players — makes it easier for them to perform tactically and emotionally,” he wrote on X.

“But I just saw it go the opposite direction. Coco seemed to let the possibility of coaching consume all her focus.”

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Even Navarro admitted that she got a “boost” from Gauff’s frustrations.

“I don’t normally give the other side of the court too much energy,” she said. “I keep it on my side of the court. Yeah, I guess seeing her kind of frustrated and looking at her box, putting her arms up in the air, it’s definitely a little bit of a confidence boost.”

Next up are the Paris Olympics and North American hard-court swing with Gauff defending a lot of points on home soil as she won titles at the DC Citi Open, Cincinnati Open and US Open.

But it is not just the coaching situation that will be a concern as she has also struggled against top-20 players this year.

The American has played 11 matches against top-20 players and won only four, which puts her well down the list.

World No 1 Iga Swiatek leads the list as she is 17-2 (89.47%) and she is followed by Aryna Sabalenka (10-4 – 71.43%), Elena Rybakina – (9-4 – 69.23%), Danielle Collins (7-6 – 53.85%). Gauff, meanwhile, has a 36.36% win-loss record.