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July 5, 2021

Coco Gauff

Wimbledon, London, UK

Press Conference

A. KERBER/C. Gauff

6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How did you feel about that match? It was a very hard match. You pushed her all the way, didn't you?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I thought that, you know, for the most part it was a good match for both of us. She played extremely well. I had opportunities to break in the second set and opportunities to close out games, so I think I just need to get better on that part.

Overall I'm happy with, you know, how I performed this tournament. You know, disappointed. I know I can do better. But it's just going to give me more motivation to go back and practice and come back stronger.

Q. I wanted to ask you about the wind today. We don't have a sense at court level how it affects players' games. Could you just describe it and how long, if it took a while, if it did, for you to feel comfortable and confident hitting in it?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, it was definitely super windy today. You could tell by my skirt was flying a little bit. But, yeah, I would say by the third or fourth game, I think we both started to get comfortable with it.

Serving was difficult. That's why the breaks happened so early in the first couple games. I mean, it didn't affect so much on like the faster balls. Just more on like the slower ones, because it gave it more time. I missed some balls I probably should have made.

I mean, it's not the wind's fault. I just need to use my footwork a little bit more.

Q. In addition to the tactical things that you might learn, what do you hope to learn from your second Wimbledon experience as you move forward in your career?

COCO GAUFF: I don't know. I just feel like I'm close. Always competitive in these matches against these top players, you know, like, making the second week, so I feel like I'm close.

I just need to do better on certain points and certain moments in the match I have to notice when the momentum changes and how to react to when it changes.

I don't know. I just feel like I'm so close that I just need to go back and practice and work on the little things so that I can go even further in these tournaments.

Q. Obviously a Wimbledon champion and multiple Grand Slam champion, former No. 1. How surprised were you by some of the things she did out there? Seemed like she had success with changing direction of the ball, seemed it surprised you a bit. What things were you finding hard about playing her in particular?

COCO GAUFF: I wasn't really surprised, because I knew she was going to bring a top level. If I went out there surprised she can hit great shots, that's, I guess, bad planning on my part.

But I wasn't surprised. I knew going in she was going to hit some great shots and hit some balls that you don't expect, and she did catch me on the wrong foot a lot of times, but that's what I expected from her.

I think that, you know, she obviously has done well and won Wimbledon, but I think I just feel like all of the games were competitive. We were going deuce, ad, deuce, ad, 30-All, 30-40. I think I need to do better on especially the 30-All and deuce points. I think that's where I could have improved on today.

She did a good job of making me compete and making me play, and I feel like some moments in the match I outhit myself out of the match, and I think sometimes the best decision is just to put the ball in play and see what your opponent can do. I think that's what she did well today. And also changing direction.

But, I mean, it's Angelique. We all know she's good at that (smiling).

Q. Were you impressed by her speed and how well she covered the court?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I mean, she's super quick. Everybody who plays her on the scouting report says, Be ready for balls that you don't think are going to come back to come back.

I mean, I was impressed by her speed, but it was also expected. I mean, I don't know. I just feel like she played like how I thought she was going to play. She just played like really well. I didn't expect anything less from her.

I'm happy, you know, that, you know, I had a competitive match. Like I said, there are points I could have gone better, but she played a great match. If she continues to play this way, I think she'll go far in the tournament and continue to win matches and maybe go all the way.

Yeah, I mean, she got to a lot of balls. I think her making me play the extra ball definitely frustrated me a little bit.

Q. What positives will you take from your time here? How do you sort of feel going into your first Olympics?

COCO GAUFF: I guess the positives I will take is that I'm capable of competing with high-level players and players who have won Grand Slams in the past. I mean, this match was, even though it was 4 and 4, it was just one break of serve each set.

And into Olympics, I mean, I'm super confident. I feel like I'm there. I just need to work on, you know, the little things, on 30-All and deuce points. I think those points could have changed the match if I would have maybe won a little bit more of them.

But overall, it was a positive experience. I'm still in doubles, so I'm excited about that. Hopefully me and Caty can go pretty far in doubles.

(Technical difficulties with audio.)

Q. When you said, "I think I might have hit myself out of the match," I just want to make sure I understand that. Is that when you are being aggressive and moving forward and playing the tactics that have served you so well, but maybe today it was too fine of a margin and you might have been better served by reining it in a little bit? Is that the gist of it?

(No audio.)

Q. What are your biggest Olympic memories when you were a kid? You watched on television? Things that stuck with you the most?

COCO GAUFF: (Lost audio)... other sports. You guys can hear me now? Biggest memory.

I would think probably Allyson Felix, she's still in the Olympics now, but she is a big deal and was a big deal and still is a big deal. Also, the Rio 2016 Olympics, I remember that pretty well. I don't remember who I was watching, but I would say Allyson Felix and Usain Bolt were the biggest memories I remember from the Olympics, just because -- honestly, it's probably bad, but tennis is one of the sports I didn't watch at the Olympics. I watched everything else except tennis.

I watched gymnastics. I watched track and field. I watched rhythm gymnastics. I watched everything except tennis (smiling). But, yeah, those are I guess the memories. I don't really have much memories of the Olympics in tennis per se. I watched more of the other sports.

THE MODERATOR: Hopefully you can all hear me now. Liz, would you like to ask another...

Q. I asked Coco to elaborate on possibly overhitting in the match.

COCO GAUFF: You want me to reanswer it?

Q. No, you were great. I'm sure I'll see it on the transcript.

COCO GAUFF: I can answer if you want.

Q. I bet it's on the transcript, right?

COCO GAUFF: She said they want me to reanswer for the transcript. I will. I have no problem.

Q. Did you get what I was saying?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I did. Basically I will just repeat.

I said I have been playing aggressive and being moving forward is a part of my game, but I feel like today, because she's a quick player, I think in the back of my mind I always had to go for more when sometimes it's better just to let your opponent try and see they can get to the ball.

There were times I had a lot of unforced errors just strictly for the fact of trying to go for too much, and in the matches in the past I have had tendencies to play too passive, and now I'm playing too aggressive. I think I just need to find the medium for when the score is tight and I'm feeling the pressure. I need to find a good middle and that's what I need to work on.

Q. Thanks for going over that again.

COCO GAUFF: No problem.

Q. Serena Williams is approaching her 40th birthday. Venus Williams is still playing past 40 years old. What do you consider the legacy to you specifically from the Williams sisters?

COCO GAUFF: Oh, God. It's something you can't really put into words. The impact they have on not just me but other girls in tennis, especially Black girls in tennis.

I don't know. It's something you can't really put in beyond words. 100%, I don't think my dad would have considered picking up a racquet, putting a racquet in my hand if it wasn't for them.

I don't know. Just seeing someone look like you on the TV screen, playing in the sport, where, you know, not too many Black people were playing at the time and dominating is something, I don't know, that is inspiring. And for me, I don't want to be Serena, I don't want to be Venus, but I do want to somewhat inspire girls the way that they did, and I think representation is really important. And for me, in my life, it was important to see them on the screen.

So I hope for, as I continue to play and as my career continues to go on, that maybe a little girl can say the same thing about me, saying they saw me on the screen and felt like they can do something to accomplish their dreams. So I think the impact that they have is crazy, and it's also even crazier that they are still playing and both still dominating the game.

I'm just lucky that I was able to play against one of them while they're playing. The dream is to play Serena. Hopefully one day the draw can work out where we can play each other.

Also to play doubles with Venus is something that I never even considered. The dream was always to play against them, never with them. So the fact that I got that was pretty cool, because she never played with anyone other than Serena. I'm just grateful that I can, you know, tell my kids one day that I got to play against Venus and play with Venus and have conversations with Serena.

You know, I guess their legacy is something you can't really put into words and you can't fathom how many people they touch. It's a great thing to see, and hopefully one day I can have the same impact they did or similar.

Q. You were coming to the net quite often during this tournament. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't work. How important is it for you to be an all-court player?

COCO GAUFF: It's important. Today I feel like most of the times I went to the net the right time. She just hit some great passing shots that I wasn't expecting.

For the most part, I always have a higher winning percentage, always have a winning percentage when I go to the net. So it's something that I guess is important in my game. I also play doubles a lot, so I'm quite comfortable up there.

The goal is always to get to the net when I can. But I think it's important that, you know, you can have an all-court game and not be strictly one-dimensional, because especially now, the women's game, you're playing players of all types of different ways of playing.

You have Kerber who hits the ball a little bit more flat, and then you have Ons who is also in the quarters who slices and hits big shots and dropshots, so I think it's important, you know, if you want to continue to succeed that you have to kind of be able to play all parts of the game, because I guess the range of the players right now is pretty big.

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