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January 26, 2020

Coco Gauff

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

S. KENIN/C. Gauff

6-7, 6-3, 6-0

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You mentioned a few ago that winning is the cherry on top for you.

Q. The fun is even a bit more important. So how much fun did you have today on the court?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I had a lot of fun. The crowd was really rooting for me. I had a great tournament. I'm looking forward for doubles tomorrow.

Q. You were emotional leaving the court. Is it a bit overwhelming the last few days with the Osaka win?
COCO GAUFF: No. I mean, I was disappointed that I lost obviously. But I don't really think anything of Naomi or my previous matches had anything to do. I think naturally when I lose, I'm just a bit emotional.

Q. What lessons are you going to take from this tournament, specifically from this match, as you go forward?
COCO GAUFF: That I'm capable of coming back. I know my second round I was down. Also I think I just improved since Auckland to now, even though it was a short amount of time, just a week. I honestly feel like I improved a lot in that week.

With more training, I'm sure I'll do better.

Q. I believe the first time you played Kenin. What stood out to you about her game? What, if anything, did she do that gave you particular trouble today?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, she definitely put a lot of balls in the court. She's quick. Also her dropshots. I was getting to them, but I didn't necessarily play the dropshots right.

I think I made a lot of errors today, as well.

Q. What are some of the things you brought to this slam from the US Open, new parts of your game?
COCO GAUFF: Even though I double-faulted today a lot, but my serve is definitely better. I think my return is better. I think I moved forward. I'm happy with how I moved, transitioned, like the baseline to the net. I'm happy how I've been doing that this week. It's something I want to continue to improve on for my next tournaments.

Q. How have the doubles you've been playing helped you with that?
COCO GAUFF: A lot. I think after my doubles, I was more comfortable going to the net. You just have that doubles match where you get those tough volleys that you don't normally get in singles. It gives you more confidence.

Q. In terms of the next couple months, what do you think your schedule looks like? What tournaments are you thinking you'll be playing?
COCO GAUFF: So I only have one more tournament left, I'm pretty sure. That one is obviously Indian Wells. For sure playing Miami. After that I'm not sure.

Q. Speaking of Indian Wells, have you ever been to California? Do you have any thoughts about that?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I've been to California a couple times. I did play Easter Bowl there once. In the past years I've been going to Palm Springs a lot with Jose and USTA. They have the training camp there. I've done that.

I've been to Palm Springs a couple times. I also did the 125 last year, the 125 right before the big Indian Wells. I did that, too.

Q. What is Jose like? Very experienced?
COCO GAUFF: Yes. Definitely I think he understands the game really well. He helped with me being more comfortable really with the slice. Definitely helped with my backhand volley.

I used to volley with two hands. I remember basically the drill we used to do all the time for like 45 minutes is just one hand behind the back constantly hitting backhand volleys. So now I have a one-hander backhand volley because of him, and a better slice.

Q. You have played three slams now. Which of the three do you prefer? Where do you think your game will flourish in the future? The French Open, are you going there as well?
COCO GAUFF: For sure French Open.

I mean, I guess I like US Open. But it's hard to say because I had such good matches at all the slams. The Australian crowd is unbelievable. Even Wimbledon.

Before going into Australia, US Open has always been my favorite. Now I'm pretty sure it's close between Australia and US Open, so...

We'll see with more experience, as I play more than a couple times, I really, really truly love it here.

Q. What do you think you've learned the most about yourself in this trip in particular? Have you surprised yourself in the last month at all?
COCO GAUFF: I feel like with the first one, the thing I'm most proud of myself is how I handled it on the court. Even though today I lost a set 6-0, I was still believing I could win it. I don't think I showed any negative emotion too much in the match. I just tried my best.

I guess what surprised me is how calm I was going into all these matches. I wasn't really nervous. I was just coming in pretty calm. I'm happy that I'm not letting the moment seem too big than what it is.

Q. Obviously this is an Olympic year. Do you have your sights set on Tokyo at all?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, that's definitely the goal. Hopefully I can get my ranking up and qualify. I'm sure the cutoff is French Open. I'm pretty sure I only have like three tournaments before French Open, so...

It will be difficult. But I'm going to try as hard as possible. I definitely do want to play the Olympics. Yeah, I mean, it would be pretty cool.

Q. You mentioned how much you love the Australian Open, the Australian crowd. Have you been surprised by how much you were the crowd favorite today?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I was surprised. I got the Aussie chant today. I don't know if it was because it is Australia Day. I don't know. I really didn't think I would be such a favorite. I don't know why.

You get a couple people in the crowd cheering for you. US Open I expected to be the favorite. Here I didn't really know what to expect.

The whole stadium was really rooting for me in all my matches. That was really surprising, considering this isn't my home slam, and I hadn't done well in juniors here. I don't know why I get the Aussie chant. Hopefully I continue to get an Aussie chant. I guess I'm an adopted Australian now, and a French person. My whole team is French basically.

Q. How would you describe the differences between the Melbourne Arena and Laver Arena?
COCO GAUFF: Even though Rod Laver is bigger, I don't know why Melbourne Arena appears bigger when playing. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's like similar energy. I think there's more kids definitely on the Melbourne Arena just because of the tickets. I think there's no tickets to go into that. It's definitely a younger crowd I feel like.

I feel like between Melbourne and Rod Laver, the energy is pretty similar. Margaret was different, not as much energy I feel like, just because it's also smaller.

I think Rod Laver and Melbourne, honestly you couldn't tell that Melbourne Arena was smaller by, like, 4,000 people. I'm not sure the number.

Q. You said the other day your end goal is to be the greatest. What is the next short-term goal? What is achievable? Could you win a slam by 20?
COCO GAUFF: My short-term goal is to improve. I mean, that's the main thing. I'm doing well right now at 15. I still have so much I feel like I can get better on. Even my parents, my team, they all believe I can get better.

I don't even think this is close to a peak for me, even though I'm doing well right now. Yeah, the goal is just really to get better, you know, have these good runs at tournaments, building up my experience and playing more tournaments just so I can be ready for matches like this today.

Q. The other night you were charming when you said to yourself, What is my life? If you had to answer that question, what would you say?
COCO GAUFF: I don't know. I don't know what my life is. Yeah, it's hard to answer that just because I don't know. I couldn't really write this. I don't think anybody could really write how this past couple months have gone.

I'm definitely going to savor this and continue to kind of build and get better to work for moments like this, moments like that last match. Even today, even though I lost, I still had a lot of fun. I mean, now looking back, I'm not as disappointed anymore.

Q. I think it was Scott with you at Wimbledon and the US Open, the hitting partner? Is that right?

Q. Who did you have here?
COCO GAUFF: I had Axel. We call him 'La Mich'. He's a lefty. He's French. He's a good player. Yeah, I think he was ranked 160 or something. He's played a lot of people here. Sometimes we make fun of him. We say, Did you beat this guy or lose to this guy?

Q. What makes a good hitting partner?
COCO GAUFF: Well, to get the balls in the court, that's the main thing. Also I like when my hitting partners give me feedback on what they're feeling. Some players prefer when their hitting partners are silent. I like mine to be pretty vocal about what I can get better.

The main thing, the biggest thing with my team when picking people is the positivity. Sometimes I still have a tendency, but I used to be worse about being negative on myself. So the biggest thing was to have a positive team.

Yeah, I think that showed in my results, too.

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