Coco Gauff backed to win ‘many Grand Slams’ but Serena Williams comparisons dismissed

Coco Gauff celebrations

Rick Macci has declared that Coco Gauff has the ability to win “many Grand Slams”, but thinks claims suggesting the young star could be the “next Serena Williams” are “a jump.”

The American, a former coach of both Serena and Venus Williams, described Gauff as the best athlete in women’s tennis and feels she could benefit in a “wide open” women’s tour.

Gauff won her maiden Grand Slam title at the 2023 US Open, overcoming Aryna Sabalenka in a three-set final at Flushing Meadows in September.

The 19-year-old enjoyed the best spell of her career following a first round Wimbledon defeat this year, winning the WTA 500 event in Washington, the WTA 1000 tournament in Cincinnati and the US Open. This was the first time Gauff had won an event at each of these levels.

The American had the best season of her career in 2023 as she claimed four titles overall, posted a 51-16 record and ended the year at a career-high ranking of world No 3.

In an interview with Tennis Infinity, Macci expressed he was confident Gauff would add to her Grand Slam tally as he discussed her main WTA rivals.

“She’s quicker than quick, faster than fast, one of the best competitors, in my opinion, the best athlete out there on the women’s tour. Will she win more Grand Slams? Absolutely,” the 68-year-old said.

“Especially if you see Iga [Swiatek] kind of get upset or any type of injuries. I think the women’s game is so fluid. Because Sabalenka has the firepower, but she can also check out and not really kind of be there. [Elena] Rybakina has the serve, but she can spray it around a little bit.

“I think it’s wide open. I think [Naomi] Osaka is going to come back and do damage. I think [Sofia] Kenin will be back in there. I just think this is so fluid, except for Iga because she’s proven herself, but Coco has the ability to win many Slams.”

Macci also argued comparisons between Gauff and his former protégé Serena Williams are a stretch, but lauded the resilience the 19-year-old showed in her maiden Major run.

“When people say the next Serena. I mean, that’s a jump. I don’t think you can go to something like that. Let’s go back to the US Open. Even though she had a great run, won all those tournaments, she almost lost first round of the US Open,” he continued.

“And I told this to many people, seven o’clock, Ashe Stadium, Billie Jean King, the prize money equality [celebration], unbelievable pressure, and she won in three sets, and people just said how bad she played. And I looked at it differently. That’s a gold nugget that she’ll have in her pocket the rest of her career.

“You can’t script that type of environment and then come out ahead. And then she went on with a few other three set matches. And here we go, she’s US Open champion. And now the whole narrative has changed.”

Macci has worked with five players who achieved the world No 1 ranking in their careers: Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Maria Sharapova, Jennifer Capriati and Andy Roddick. He also coached WTA Major champions Mary Pierce, Anastasia Myskina and Sofia Kenin.

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