Brad Gilbert has been a gamechanger for US Open champion Coco Gauff

A happy Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff’s start to the 2023 season had a few fans, and pundits concerned that she was going to stall just a little bit, but her decision to consult with Brad Gilbert appears to have been a masterstroke.

It has been no secret that Gauff has been working hard on improving her forehand, which has been the glaring weakness in her game.

In her quest for a good coaching solution, she has brought in Gilbert as a consultant, and it seems to have unlocked something within Gauff.

The US Open champion herself feels that Gilbert has a gift for communicating things to her in a way that she can take on board.

One interested observer is keen to credit Gilbert with helping to turn things around for Gauff in 2023.

Former Grand Slam winner Pam Shriver feels that the return to the United States after Wimbledon and the decision to work with Gilbert gave Gauff the push she needed to take her game to another level.

Shriver feels that Gilbert’s touch will be just what Gauff needs to finetune her game, which is already very good despite her relatively weak forehand.

“I was concerned about Coco, and then just look how she finished out the summer,” Shriver said in a chat with the WTA.

“I feel like the voice of BG helped her enormously. That was probably the most important thing.

“Does he alter her forehand grip? I don’t think he’s going to mess with it too much.

“He’s preaching positive thoughts and good habits.”

Shriver adds that she doesn’t feel that Gauff’s coaches need to work miracles with her forehand to ensure that she can be considered a great player.

“I would add that there have been a lot of great tennis champions who didn’t have a devastating forehand — Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and Stefan Edberg, for example,” Shriver continues.

“And there were some times where Venus Williams’ forehand sometimes broke down under attack.

“The point is, when you have all the tools that Coco has on the tennis court — the backhand, the movement, the ability to go forward — you don’t need the best forehand in the game to win many, many majors and get to No 1.

“I think she’s going to go into 2024 feeling a heck of a lot more confident, comfortable and secure.”

Gauff will start her season defending her maiden WTA Tour title won in Auckland. The Auckland Classic runs alongside the Brisbane International and United Cup in the first week of the new season.

There was no small surprise that Gauff opted to make the trip to Auckland to defend her title instead of turning out for her country in the United Cup.

However, organisers of the WTA 250 event are delighted to have her on board for the tournament, as one would expect.

READ MORE: ‘Coco Gauff proved naysayers wrong and now it’s about how many Grand Slams she will get’

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