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August 31, 2019

Cori Gauff

New York, NY, USA

N. OSAKA/C. Gauff

6-3, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe what Naomi did during the match and then after the match?
CORI GAUFF: I mean, during the match I think she played amazing. I mean, it was hard for me to take control of the points. Obviously, I think she had way more winners than I did. It was hard to kind of control the rallies.

But I think I'll learn a lot from this match. She's the No. 1 player in the world right now, so I know what I need to do to get to that level.

After the match, I think she just proved that she's a true athlete. For me the definition of an athlete is someone who on the court treats you like your worst enemy but off the court can be your best friend. I think that's what she did tonight.

Q. What did you make of the atmosphere out there, how you felt going in, what you made of being out there?
CORI GAUFF: Yeah, it was a packed crowd. It was my first time playing on Ashe. Obviously I wish it was a different result. But it was still a great experience for me.

Q. Did you want to leave the court, and did she almost convince you to stay? Were you thinking, I want to be off and be out of here?
CORI GAUFF: Yeah, I definitely was wanting to leave the court because I'm not the type of person who wants to cry in front of everyone. I didn't want to take that moment away from her, as well.

She told me it's better than crying in the shower. She convinced me, like, multiple times to stay. I kept saying no. Finally I said, Okay, I'll do it. Because I didn't know what to do.

I'm happy that she kind of convinced me to do it because, I mean, I'm not used to crying in front of everyone.

Q. Can you compare and contrast the experience of walking onto Ashe this morning and then competing there?
CORI GAUFF: Definitely it's different when the stadium is packed. But I'm glad I was able to kind of practice on it because I never played or hit a ball on that court ever. So I thought it helped me for today's match.

I mean, next time I play her, I'm going to try to come up with a different plan.

Q. Do you make any kind of comparison to the tears that Naomi cried last year on what should have been the greatest night of her career to the tears you exhibited tonight and how she treated you?
CORI GAUFF: For me, I can't really compare just because it was her winning a slam. This is the third round, so I can't really compare. I have a long ways to go before I can.

But I think she really showed sportsmanship tonight. I mean, I wasn't expecting it. I'm glad that I was able to experience that moment. I'm glad the crowd was kind of helping me and her.

She was crying, she won. I was crying. Everybody was crying (laughter).

I was like, I don't know why she was crying. I was like, You won the match (smiling).

I don't know. Everybody was crying. But I think it was a good moment for both of us.

Q. Have you been able to think about what the future holds for you here and how this moment might help you get to where you want to be?
CORI GAUFF: Yeah, I think long-term I learned a lot from these couple weeks. I mean, the tournament is not even done for me yet. I have doubles tomorrow. I guess right now the future for me is tomorrow. But long-term I guess I don't know what will be next. I'm still kind of working on scheduling.

I just know that I'm going to use what I've learned today and the past two matches in my next couple tournaments.

Q. Can you try to put this run into a little bit of perspective since Wimbledon?
CORI GAUFF: Yeah, I feel like a year -- a lot can happen in a year. Last year I was preparing for juniors. I lost in the quarterfinals last year. Now I almost got to the second week. I got to the third round in my first main draw US Open. I'm super proud of myself.

For me, I'm just going to continue to learn. My dad told me I'm 15, I still have a lot to work on, a lot to improve.

But I think that today definitely I learned a lot. I mean, she's at the top of the game right now, at the top of her game. I know what I need to do to get to that level and get to be a top-10 player.

Q. Naomi mentioned on the court seeing you and your family at training facilities in Florida. How often do you run into each other?
CORI GAUFF: Yeah, well, I've seen her at an academy called Polo a couple times. I've been going there for a while. She goes there, too. I don't know if she goes there but I've seen her there maybe two years ago. But we live in, like, the same area, Boca, Delray.

I guess I would say we run in -- not face-to-face, but when I'm driving past, I'll see her. So maybe once every couple months because obviously her schedule is different than mine. I'm home a lot more than her. She's out on the road. I don't see her too often. But at the tournaments obviously we see each other a lot.

Q. You said you learned a lot from her about what you needed to do to reach her level as world No. 1. What do you see in her that she has that you don't think you have right now?
CORI GAUFF: Yeah, today's match I think she was really attacking the ball well. She hit a lot of winners today. I didn't hit as many as I can. I think that I can trust my strokes more.

I think she trusts her strokes a lot, so that's why she hits winners. In order to hit a winner, you have to trust that you're going to do it. I think I can work on that more.

Other than that, I mean, I think my first serve, I could get it in more today. I was having trouble holding serve. I think once I get past that hump, I'll start to improve a lot more.

Q. Naomi said she found similarities between you and her. That's why she has been trying to talk to you, tried to convince you tonight. Do you think you find similarities in terms of personality with Naomi?
CORI GAUFF: Yeah, I think we're both, I guess, doing well young. I mean, she's only 21. She's accomplished so much. She has, like, such a bright future ahead of her. I think that we both came up similar just because we were both young. Especially after her Indian Wells run, people weren't really expecting that.

Also I think, like, the headphone thing, I'm sure everybody heard that. I think that's quite similar. Well, for me, when I'm in the locker room, I'm watching, like, YouTube or something. That's why I have my headphones in. I heard she watches anime. I don't watch that, but maybe I'll give it a try (smiling).

Q. How happy of a night is it for you to get this experience behind you?
CORI GAUFF: I'm still a little bit sad because it's still fairly new. I think tomorrow I'll really, I guess, cherish the experience. I hope that next year I'll be able to play on Ashe again. It was a great court, a great atmosphere out there. Maybe next time I'll come out on top.

Q. Sometimes people associate youth with a certain pace. Do you think you're moving at a proper pace? Are you moving too fast? Should you have gotten this far so soon? Do you have another plan?
CORI GAUFF: For me, I think I'm just moving the pace that Coco can go. Everyone is different. I feel like everyone peaks at different points in their life.

I wouldn't consider right now a peak because I do feel like I can improve a lot. I think for me, I'm just moving the right pace for Coco. Maybe this pace might not be the right pace for someone else. I think just everyone is different.

I think everything happens for a reason. So I just think regardless of age or stage, I think that pace in general is different for everybody. Some people peak late in their careers, some people peak early.

Right now I'm doing well, but I wouldn't consider this a peak for me because I still think I can improve a lot.

Q. Through your young career, you've been able to show adaptability. Do you do film study with different players?
CORI GAUFF: I watch a lot of players play. Necessarily before my match, I don't do too much film. I watch a little. But mostly my dad takes care of that. He tells me what to do.

He doesn't overfeed into tendencies of other players because you kind of have to adjust in the match. I mean, 90% of the time, at least for me, the game plan doesn't always work, and you have to adjust. It might work, but work maybe just for a set. You have to adjust.

For me, I kind of just go with the flow out there on the court. I kind of notice things. When I notice it, try to change it as quick as possible.

Q. From your Wimbledon run through now, what are you most proud of?
CORI GAUFF: Probably the way that I've been handling it all. I mean, I guess coming into this, I knew that a lot more people were watching me at Wimbledon, expecting things from me. I think I try my best to zone out everyone, and just focus on me.

I think a lot of people just forget that I'm new to this, I'm still learning, and I'm still improving. I think a lot of people came in here with a lot of expectation, just not even this tournament, but after Wimbledon in general.

I felt, I guess, between Washington and then maybe a week before US Open, I felt pressure to kind of just prove myself. I think maybe like three or four days before my first match, I think I kind of realized I just need to have fun out there. Whatever happens happens. But as long as I have fun, that's important for me.

Q. The tears you expressed were so genuine. Was that because you lost? Was it the experience of being on Ashe?
CORI GAUFF: I think it was a mix of both. Obviously I was disappointed that I lost. There was a lot going on. I was really trying to get off the court. Really, I don't like crying in front of people.

But I'm glad that I was able to express that moment. I guess it shows that I'm human. I guess athletes in general just experience things, and we show emotion, good and bad.

I think a lot of people see the more pumping up side of me, the more fiery side. I guess that side is good for other people to see.

I'm glad I was able to experience that on the biggest stage. Maybe next time I'll have a different result.

I really thank Naomi for that because it was a good moment for me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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