Patrick Mouratoglou hails ‘exceptional’ Coco Gauff’s inner strength and self-confidence
“She’s just different,” was how Patrick Mouratoglou felt after his first meeting with Coco Gauff when she was 10 years old and six years later his opinion of the teenager hasn’t changed.
Gauff hit the tennis headlines in 2019 as she became the youngest player to qualify for the main draw at Wimbledon and made it to the fourth round at SW19.
She also reached the third round of the US Open last year and won her maiden title in Linz in October while she stunned defending champion Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open at the start of 2020.
The 16-year-old produced another sit up and take note moment last week when she delivered a passionate Black Lives Matter speech in Florida, which was part of protests against police brutality in the United States.
She has received widespread praise with the likes of Billie Jean King and Maria Sharapova doffing their hats to her and her mentor Mouratoglou admits applauded his protégé.
“She’s just different. It’s something I have known since I met her – she came to my academy at 10,” he is quoted as saying in The Guardian. “I spoke to her, I had an individual one-on-one discussion with her. I said: ‘Guys, she’s different.’
“When you meet people who are exceptional, you know it. I feel it straight away. Since that day, she’s been surprising me all the time, even though I know she’s so special.
“At 14 she was more mature than women on tour who are 25. That’s incredible. She has an inner strength that is completely unusual. She has a self-confidence that serves her in her tennis, but to be able to come and make a speech at 16 the way she did? You don’t see that. Again, she surprised me. I’m not surprised that I am surprised, but I’m surprised.”
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