Esteemed coach compares Coco Gauff to Roger Federer and lauds her ‘backbone’

A happy Coco Gauff

Rick Macci has declared that Coco Gauff is “not going anywhere” after her run at the 2024 Australian Open and thinks the American has a “mindset like Roger Federer.”

The legendary tennis coach feels Gauff is only going to improve and hailed her both for having “one of the best backhands on the tour” and for her “backbone.”

World No 3 Gauff was defeated 7-6(2), 6-4 by world No 2 and eventual winner Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne last week.

The 19-year-old was aiming to reach her second final in as many majors after beating Sabalenka in three sets in the 2023 US Open final in September to claim her maiden Grand Slam title. She was also a runner-up at the 2022 French Open.

The American won her first 10 matches of the 2024 season before her defeat to the 25-year-old Belarusian, having defended her title in Auckland to begin her year.

In an interview with NBC News, Macci was asked what he expected of Gauff in 2024 after her Australian Open campaign.

“She’s not going anywhere, we talked about this before. She’s a teenager, one of the best backhands on the tour. But I actually like her backbone better than her backhand,” the American said.

“I love her motto, ‘No days off’. Coco’s only gonna get better. And what I really love, is she has the mindset like Roger Federer.”

Macci also expressed how highly he rates Sabalenka’s game and identified the repair of the Belarusian’s second serve as the key improvement she has made.

“First off, I love this player simply because she has more easy, liquid power off the ground than anybody in the world. But the main difference now, okay, if I back the truck up to 2022 – this young lady in 55 matches – hit 428 double faults,” the 69-year-old assessed.

“There was Christmas presents and there wasn’t any Christmas going on. So she brought in a biomechanist, they put ‘humpty dumpty’ back together. And in the finals, bang, no double faults. When she’s not giving free points, she’s dangerous on any surface, anytime, against anybody.”

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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