June 7, 2021
C. GAUFF/O. Jabeur
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What does this mean to you?
COCO GAUFF: It means a lot to me, especially I have lost in the fourth round a couple times so it feels good to get over that hurdle. Today I played probably my best match so far in the tournament.
Q. How good does it feel not only to play the way you did but also to serve the way you did? I think you dropped nine points on serve, no double faults. This was a great performance.
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I think I feel like I have gotten less and less double faults as the tournament has gone on, I think. You know, that's obviously been a hurdle in my game. I truly feel like I'm, you know, getting over that hurdle.
Today, I don't know, I just served really well first and second serves, played the points pretty smart on my serve.
Q. Does this one feel different to the ones you have had at slams previously?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, it definitely does feel different. I feel like, you know, I just feel like it's been, I don't know, not -- I guess professional. I feel like all my matches have been, you know, pretty, I don't know how to say it, but straightforward wins, like no crazy three sets and stuff. As we know, I have had a lot of those in the past.
But I don't know, I just feel like this has been the most consistent, like, tennis I have played at this level. Hopefully I can keep that going.
Q. You talked after the match about having your family with you at the tournament. Why is it so important to you to have them here with you?
COCO GAUFF: For me, it's especially important now because of the bubble and COVID. You spend a lot of time in the hotel room. You know, it just makes things light and fun. Especially, like, my mom, she wasn't here for the previous parts of the clay season, so it's nice to have her here.
I'm also thankful that my brothers let me steal our parents for a little bit (smiling). After this tournament, she will be going home for a little bit and then right back for Wimbledon.
Q. How is your French going? Second thing I wanted to ask was about your serve, if you could talk a bit about the work you have put into getting your serve back to where you want it to be.
COCO GAUFF: So, "Je parle francais un peu." I'm learning (smiling).
With the serve, I don't know, I just spent a lot of reps on it, especially since Madrid. I think I had a lot of double faults that match, and I've just been serving pretty much every day. Not really focus on so much the speed of it. Just feeling confident because the problem was my confidence on the serve, like I would play in practice, make 50 second serves in a row, and then I get to the match and get nervous.
Now I don't feel as nervous when I'm serving. I just feel like I focus on the three main things, and then it just happens. If it goes in, it goes in; if it doesn't, we try again.
Q. Would you say you're still learning on the clay? If so, what would you say you're learning during these four matches?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I'm definitely still learning. I'm going to always still be learning no matter how many matches I win. But for me, it's just being patient and shot selection I think is really important on clay because you're not going to have too many outright winners on clay just because it's slower and gives more time for your opponent to get the ball. I think the shot selection is important.
And also, just using all areas of the court. I think clay is like probably the surface you can use the whole court the most, and I think it's important that I continue to mix up and mix up how I play so my opponents don't really know what to expect.
Q. You have said that you relax between matches by playing the UNO board game, and you also said that you win every time. Do you think you are just a born winner? Do you have any top tips for me for UNO? Because I can never win.
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, we have been playing UNO today and actually we have been keeping score. I have it in my notes. So I have 16 wins under me. My dad has 11 and my mom has 10. I'm in the lead right now.
With UNO, there's not really tips, it's all about luck. But I have a strategy that I have against my parents. I know how they play and I'm not going to share it because my dad watches my interviews and I don't want him to know what happens (smiling).
Q. I know you don't want to get ahead of yourself. This is such an open tournament, isn't it? Do you feel like you're right in the mix?
COCO GAUFF: I mean, to be honest, I haven't really thought about it. I'm really just focused on the match ahead of me. I don't want to think far. You have to focus what's in front of you.
I mean, yeah, that's really the only answer I have. So right now I'm focused on going to sleep tonight and winning the next UNO match and then tomorrow we focus back on practice and then get ready for the quarterfinals.
Q. You said earlier this year that you felt your game is more studied by your rivals. What are you working on to make yourself a surprise factor again?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I definitely do, I would say I do great -- after being on tour for a bit there is obviously more matches for them to watch and learning how I play, and I've noticed that.
During the off-season I just worked on my weaknesses. And I don't know, I feel like now my weaknesses are now stronger it doesn't really give my opponent so much an answer or an easy way out on the court. And for me, I don't know, something that might be considered my weakness, I just really started to feel like it's a strength for me now.
Q. How much are you playing tennis because that's your job, and how much are you playing just because you absolutely love the game?
COCO GAUFF: I feel like all the time I play I love the game. I mean, I'm always having fun on the court. I will say there has been times where I guess moments for a couple weeks where I wasn't having as much fun, I guess, but it wasn't because I didn't want to play. It's just you get caught up in playing week to week and you kind of lose it a little bit.
But I feel like that's kind of like with everyone, I feel. I feel everyone goes through those moments. I think going through those moments make the good moments on court way more enjoyable. If it was always good on the court, or if everything was good in life you wouldn't appreciate, you know, the good moments. There has to be some bad moments to make you appreciate the nice things in life.
So I think, yeah, I think that's in general with everyone's career. I mean, I don't know if you guys love what you guys do, but I'm sure there is some tough moments in there. I feel like the good moments make things pretty fun and enjoyable.
Q. Can you talk about your next match against Barbora Krejcikova? She just won a title like you on clay.
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, she's obviously been having a great clay season, and she's a tough opponent. I think that she's a really smart player and she's been on tour for some time.
She's one of those players, I guess, an all-court player, she can play all parts of the court. She does well in singles and doubles and mixed doubles. I'm just going to go out there and just focus on playing my game and not so much about her.
Yeah, she might be like the "veteran" in this matchup, but I think I'm just not going to focus too much on the decisions she makes and more about what I do on the court.
Q. Besides your serve today, what else did you like about the performance the most? I mean, there were a lot of things to like, obviously.
COCO GAUFF: I think for me what was important was the depth on the ball today. That's one of the things I came out there focused on just because she has some unreal hands, probably the best hands on tour regarding dropshots and slices and all that. I knew that to make it difficult for her I had to push the ball deep.
I mean, no matter how good you are, it would be hard to dropshot on a deep, pretty heavy deep ball, so that's what I was focused on. You know, it went my way.
And also, you know, even though I didn't win all the dropshot points that she played, I think I played them pretty well. Even the ones that I lost, I don't think there was much I could have changed up on or anything. So yeah.
Q. I saw a lovely signature you wrote on the camera after your win today. How good are you at remembering birthdays?
COCO GAUFF: Yeah, it was my brother's birthday was on June 5. This is the first time I was able to write on the camera since then, and I wanted to do it on his birthday, but, well, we didn't write on the camera on Lenglen.
Hopefully I was hoping that today that I would win and obviously the camera would be there. So I wrote him "Happy Birthday." He watches all my matches that I play, and I know my grandma texted me and said that he was happy.
Q. I realize this can change over the years, but right now what's your ranking of surfaces, your favorite one to least favorite?
COCO GAUFF: Oh, that's a hard one. I don't know. I feel like hard will always be my favorite, because that's just what I'm used to and that's what I started on. So I would say that's No. 1.
Between clay and grass, I don't know. I have good results on both. That's a hard one. I would say, oh, um, I don't know. I think I'm going to go with grass second and clay last. The only reason I say grass second -- I haven't played on grass since two years, since Wimbledon 2019, so I don't know. But I think just because grass, just because it has a special place in my heart, and, you know, that's kind of where you guys probably all heard of my name for the first time, so I think grass.
Only thing about clay I don't like, it's just whenever you fall, you just get all dirty and I don't like that. But, yeah, I think I'm going to go hard, 1; 2, grass; 3, clay.
Q. You have talked about this being maybe your most professional tournament in terms of mindset. Can you compare your mindset and your approach to today's match to your other round of 16 matches at the slams?
COCO GAUFF: I think that the difference between yesterday and today was honestly, to be honest, I think I was just more hungry for it. I feel like in the past, you know, I felt like I was satisfied with, you know, the run I made in the tournament, so maybe I feel like I came into the matches I guess not as hungry, and I know it's probably not a good thing to say but it's the truth.
But I think, you know, with a lot of young players I think we tend to get satisfied with just, you know, the small results -- not small results but certain results before we realize that we can really shoot for more.
You know, my message has always been "dream big and aim higher." I think that today was honestly coming from that message of aiming higher, because, you know, I could have easily said I'm satisfied with, you know, fourth round and everything, but today I think I just came in more hungry and wanting more compared to my last times I have been in the fourth round.
Q. Some young sportsmen and women don't like when we talk about young age. Are you in this kind of feeling too?
COCO GAUFF: I mean, I don't really care if you guys talk about my age or not. I'm 17. That's the truth. If you guys want to talk about it, it's fine.
I mean, on the court, I promise you my opponents probably don't care about how old I am. They want to beat me just as bad regardless of my age, and I want to beat them just as bad regardless of their age.
I don't mind if you guys talk about my age. It's a fact to me and it's going to change every year. I mean, I'm only going to be 17 once, so you might as well talk about it while I'm 17.
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