Coco Gauff ‘wanted more’ from her coaching team amid shock Wimbledon defeat

Kevin Palmer
Coco Gauff in action
A happy Coco Gauff during her match.

Coco Gauff’s Wimbledon dream is over for another year after a shock defeat against Emma Navarro on Centre Court.

The No 2 seed was beaten 6-4, 6-3 by Navarro, ensuring Wimbledon remains the only Grand Slam at which Gauff has not reached the last eight.

She had previously reached the fourth round on the lawns of SW19 twice, including on her debut in 2019 when, as a precocious 15-year-old, she beat former champion Venus Williams.

Gauff looked like a genuine contender for the title this year with the draw having opened up nicely, not least with Saturday’s defeat of her nemesis, the world number one Iga Swiatek.

But now it is Navarro, the 23-year-old New Yorker who knocked out Naomi Osaka in round two, who can take advantage.

She will face Italian seventh seed Jasmine Paolini on Tuesday with a potential semi-final against either qualifier Lulu Sun or Croatian world number 37 Donna Vekic.

“It was a tough match. She played well,” said Gauff.

“Yeah, I think she played great tennis. There were moments in the first set that I had chances to capitalise on the break.

“I thought she did well staying on the baseline, which I know how she plays just from playing her before, but she really did well timing my hardballs to her, which isn’t easy to do on grass.

“Also she hit a lot of, like, I think extra balls back like slices, mixing it up. Overall I think she played well. I think she returned well today, especially on my second serve.”

Gauff also questioned the input from her team in the coaching box, as she suggested a team that includes former player Brad Gilbert and Jean-Christophe Faurel could have given her more.

Coco Gauff: Who makes up the team behind reigning US Open champion?

Wimbledon fashion hits and misses: Coco Gauff, Novak Djokovic, Marta Kostyuk star at SW19

“We had a game plan going in,” she stated.

“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.

“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.”

Gauff was the firm favourite to reach the final on her side of the draw, but she insisted that did not impact her performance.

“I’ve seen and played so many Slams where anybody can win,” she added. “The seed is just a number, just an advantage so you don’t play another seed first round.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t lose, as we’ve seen a lot of seeds drop out. We’ve seen defending champions drop out. It means nothing.

“Especially on my side of the draw, even though the players may not be as known, but they’re so talented. I think that’s something that people, fans of the game, are a little bit disrespectful when it comes to other players on tour.

“Maybe their ranking isn’t there, but the level is there. They’re here for a reason. They deserve their spot. There’s no easy draw.

“There’s no cakewalk or anything. This is a competitive sport and we all want to win. I’ve been there where I was ranked whatever, an unknown.

“It would be disrespectful for another player to be like, This girl is ranked whatever, and she’s this age, I should be able to win. That’s not the case.

“I don’t take my seed into account when it comes to anything. I take every match with a very competitive mindset regardless of the ranking or the person I’m playing against.”