August 21, 2020
New York, New York, USA
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coco.
Q. Did you make any changes to your preparation in order to play without fans, play inside the bubble?
COCO GAUFF: I mean, not so much preparation-wise. I mean, it's still tennis, the same court, the same balls regardless if there's fans or not.
In the bubble, I mean, pretty much the same as a normal tournament. Obviously not to be able to move as freely as we do normally, but we still have a lot of things to do on-site. They have a lot of games and stuff to keep us entertained.
Q. How does it feel to be back in New York? What is your experience in the bubble like as opposed to maybe what you expected it would be like?
COCO GAUFF: It's definitely exceeded my expectations. At the hotel they have a lot of activities for us to do, which I was a little bit worried about that, that there wouldn't be anything to do besides Netflix. They actually have a lot of things to do.
On-site they have a lot of fun games that I've never really tried before. I really enjoy it. The weather has been great. Actually I've been sitting outside.
Yeah, the bubble has been great. The tournament, the USTA, has done a great job with everything. The sanitation... There's not really much I can ask for after this.
Q. How does it feel to be back here in New York without fans that were so much a factor in your success last year?
COCO GAUFF: I mean, I'm still excited to be able to even have the chance to play. It is a bummer that we can't have fans. But safety first. Hopefully next year we'll be able to get things back to normal.
Q. I think this is the first time for you at the US Open that you're not the youngest player in the field. How much do you know about Robin Montgomery, what you think of her game? What would it be like to try to do what you did last year, making a splash on tour, but having all these changes to the tour this year?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I mean, I know Robin very well. I believe we first met maybe when we were eight years old. I've known her for a long time.
I'm really happy for her that she's able to get the wild card. She definitely deserved it. I'm wishing her the best.
Q. How different do you think it would be to have this be your arrival on tour during this strange time? If you can talk a bit about her game, how you know her.
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I mean, definitely different without fans and everything. Honestly, I don't really know what to expect. I'm just going to go out there and have fun. I don't have any expectations.
Regarding Robin, I know her game. She's a very big hitter, has a great serve. She's going to do well and make some noise here.
Q. Adjusting to everything happening right now, the changes that you're seeing at tournaments, you did quite well in terms of adjustment. What do you put that down to? What kind of attitude do you think you need to have to be able to deal with everything that's so different at the moment?
COCO GAUFF: Definitely have to stay motivated. There's no fans, so you're going to have to be your biggest cheerleader out on the court. That's what I'm going to try to do, keep positive, cheer myself on when moments get tough.
Q. A little earlier Serena spoke about how we are living in historic times. You've spoken about Black Lives Matter. Without getting political, what did it say to you to see an African American woman who is young and dynamic be on the presidential stage, vice presidential stage, receive the nomination this week?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, it was definitely good to see some representation. I think that it's going to be cool for little girls to see themselves represented at such a high standard in this country.
Q. It said something to you? It spoke to you?
COCO GAUFF: Yup.
Q. You alluded to the hotel that had all these games. What sort of new games are you playing? I heard there's a lot of video stuff. Back in your hometown, COVID-19 is spiking. What was it like when things were getting out of control?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, the first question, the games, on-site they have a lot of outdoor games, basketball, pool, soccer, paddle tennis, bean bag. They have a cool nine-hole mini golf course, which is pretty cool.
At the hotel they have PS4, ping-pong, typical arcade games. They also have karaoke. I don't think that's been a big hit because I don't think anybody wants to go up and sing in front of everybody in the tournament.
Regarding the COVID-19 cases, when I was home I tried to stay as safe as possible. Didn't go anywhere but practice and the courts. Occasionally went out on the boat.
The biggest thing I can ask people is to continue to wear their masks, continue to social distance so things can get back to normal quicker.
Q. I know last year after the Australian Open you said it was a goal of yours to play in the Olympics, but it was going to be a challenge. How do you feel about the postponement, how that might impact your chances?
COCO GAUFF: Definitely increases my chances a lot. I mean, the reasoning behind postponing, obviously I wouldn't want a pandemic to help that, but it definitely increases my chance as lot.
At the same time, I mean, considering the circumstances right now, health is more important. I'm not really trying to think about it too much because people's lives still are at risk. I don't think it would be fair for me to think my chances are increasing because of a terrible situation.
Q. This should have been your first time playing in Cincinnati. Your doubles partner, Caty, is from Cincinnati. Did she ever talk to you about Cincinnati, what it's like to play there? Anything in particular you were looking forward to?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I mean, Caty obviously being from there, she told me it's a great tournament, a lot of things to do there. I've heard from other people, as well, that it's a great tournament.
I mean, it is a bummer that isn't being held in Cincinnati, since I've never been to Cincinnati before. Actually my dad likes the city, so I was hoping to go there.
I mean, at least we're able to play the tournament. Hopefully next year I'll be able to go and experience the Cincinnati culture.
What do you call it, Cincinnatians?
Q. You got it.
COCO GAUFF: (Laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, everybody.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports