Coco Gauff’s Wimbledon loss likened to Serena Williams’ career-changing 2012 French Open defeat
Coco Gauff’s early exit from Wimbledon this year may well have been a career-changing defeat with tennis commentator Rennae Stubbs drawing parallels with a similar experience Serena Williams went through in 2012.
Teenager Gauff made a solid start to the 2023 season as she won the Auckland Classic and also reached the quarter-final of the French Open. However, she was then stunned in the first round at Wimbledon as she went down in three sets against fellow American Sofia Kenin.
The extra time off helped her to regroup and not long after she announced that renowned coach Brad Gilbert – who had coached the likes of Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick in the past – had joined her set-up and would work alongside Pere Riba.
Gauff then had a North American hard-court season to remember as she won the WTA 500 Citi Open and WTA 1000 Cincinnati Masters before lifting her maiden Grand Slam at the US Open.
The 19-year-old finished the swing with an 18-1 record.
Former doubles world No 1 Stubbs, who won four women’s doubles Grand Slams and two mixed doubles major titles, believes there are similarities with tennis great Williams’ 2012 French Open defeat.
Williams was bundled out in the first round by Virginie Razzano, but went on to win Wimbledon and the US Open that year. The American ended up winning nine Grand Slams in total after that loss.
“It’s sort of similar to Serena losing first round of the French Open, yeah to the French player what was her name the glasses, Virginie Razzano,” she said on the Rennae Stubbs Tennis Podcast.
“I think that match turned around Serena’s career and I think that this match turned around Coco’s because she was out of there, she lost kind of earlyish in the doubles as well so she left early, went back to Florida and started training on hard court and you know got Brad Gilbert to help her out once Wimbledon was over and his ESPN duties were done.”
Gilbert’s influence on Gauff was also highlighted by Stubbs as he not only helped the 19-year-old to work on her weaknesses, but helped her to use her strengths as better weapons.
“I think that what it did to her is that he made her understand I think that it’s yes your forehand is definitely dodgy, definitely needs to change in some respects or we deal with it and we use all of what you’ve got going for you which is your legs, quickest player on tour you know arguably other than maybe Iga,” she added.
“Unbelievable backhand, serve when it’s going in is huge very difficult to break her, good at the net, so good at the net, so everything she has going for her except the forehand so okay let’s not miss the forehand and let’s improve everything else and that’s what happened.”
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