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July 3, 2021

Coco Gauff

Wimbledon, London, UK

Press Conference

C. GAUFF/K. Juvan

6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. From our perspective, you are progressing very, very rapidly these last months with each tournament. Is that something you're conscious of? In other words, are you on track of the progression you might have expected or way ahead?

COCO GAUFF: I mean, for me, I don't know, I feel like I'm always on time. That's just my life and my moment. Yeah, I don't know, you can get a better answer from my dad because he's the one who kind of laid out my plan for my career.

But for me, I guess I'm on track because, I mean, this is the only, like, way I know.

Q. I wanted to ask a bit about doubles. You played both today. They both went well. How different is the mindset when you have a day like that? What are the challenges of that? How does it help your game?

COCO GAUFF: To be honest, I didn't realize I was playing doubles today until right before my singles match. I saw myself on the schedule (smiling). Normally I check the schedule to make sure I don't have anything. I don't know, I just forgot. Normally in the Grand Slams they do one and one. I forgot about the rain day, they were a little bit behind, so we caught up today.

Yeah, honestly the mindset going into singles is the same, and same for doubles. I don't really change much, I guess, mentally going in when I know I have to play both matches. I just focus on the match in front of me and then I worry about doubles later.

Q. How does doubles help your singles?

COCO GAUFF: It helps me a lot to get those extra reps in. For me, when I play doubles, I start to return better in singles. I feel on doubles there's more pressure to return just because there's another person at the net and you don't want them to peg your partner. I think it helps with me in singles because there's definitely less pressure to return in singles than doubles.

Q. Your serving stats in singles look excellent. Is this the best you ever served? How important will it be for you to continue that trend against Angie Kerber in the round of 16, a notably good returner?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I would say this is the best I feel on my serve. Honestly, every time I play on grass, my serve feels pretty good just because the court's faster. Some balls that might not be non-returnable actually is. Same with aces.

I think especially my next match it will be important to have a high first-serve percentage. Angie is a great player, great returner, does well on grass. Does well on all surfaces, but especially grass. I think that will be important for my next match.

Q. Regarding Angie Kerber, what memories do you have of seeing her win Wimbledon?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I mean, she's a really nice person off the court. I remember when she won Wimbledon. I don't know, I guess it was a win that a lot of people weren't expecting at the time. I mean, she did it. She obviously knows what it takes to win at this level. She also had a great win last week in Germany.

I think, to be honest, I'm just going to go out there and play free. I don't feel any pressure on myself. I haven't felt any pressure on myself at all. My dad told me today I matched my result from 2019 so now should just be being able to play even freer.

I know it's going to be a tough match. She's going to make a lot of balls in the court, make a lot of good shots. She's a great player. I'm just going to go out there and try my best, hopefully come out on top.

Q. I want to ask you about the Olympics. At the previous press conference you talked about your mom, how she was dreaming of participating in the Olympics. Can you talk a little bit more about that. Was your mom close to a specific Olympics?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, my mom, I mean, she ran track. Unfortunately she wasn't fast enough to make the Olympics. But she did compete in the Junior Olympics, which is something I wasn't able to do. She has that on me. We always try to compete every way how.

No, like that's what made the decision I guess super easy for me to play the Olympics. Every four years growing up, glued to the TV watching all the events, stuff that you probably - at least in my family - normally didn't watch like swimming or gymnastics. My mom was a gymnast, she likes to watch gymnastics.

I don't know, something about the Olympics I really love. I don't know. I never really thought to see myself as an Olympian. I always thought my dream was always to win Grand Slams.

I don't know. I remember growing up that I just never thought that I would make the team, especially make it so early. It's super special that I'm able to go. I'm excited to go to Tokyo. I honestly don't know what to expect because I've never been to the Olympics before. I'm going to start asking the players who went some questions, things I should do. I know some people like to trade pins. All the traditions I need to learn about because I never had any insight into someone being in the Olympics. So it's pretty cool.

Q. If you can think back to a couple years ago at Wimbledon, what would you say was the best advice you received from anybody, a player, one of your parents, a friend, after that experience that has helped you stay at a level where now you've reached the quarterfinals of the French last month and are now back in the fourth round at Wimbledon?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I mean, honestly the best advice I received -- I don't know, there's a couple. One of them was actually from Mrs. Obama. That was, It's okay to say no to some things. Afterwards I got requests from everyone, every which way, I found myself not being able to keep up. I really went from not being known to everybody wanting something. She told me it was okay to say no. That's one thing I guess helped my mentality and me emotionally and mentally off the court.

On court I guess the best advice I received -- because I am really hard on myself, which pretty much every athlete is. That's good if they're hard on themselves. Also told me you got to give yourself a pat on the back sometimes when you do something good. Even though it's such a simple thing, it's something that really stuck with me. When I started to look back on my matches, look back on the film, I did notice I wasn't always as positive to myself as I can be on the court.

Q. I didn't hear if you said who gave you that advice about the patting yourself.

COCO GAUFF: It was another player. I'm not going to say who (smiling).

Q. You're meeting for the very first time Angelique. I talked to her about that. I find it interesting that she said you kind of expect something, then you get something completely different sometimes on the court. Is it like that if you meet for the very first time with other players?

COCO GAUFF: To be honest, I haven't really thought about it like that. I feel like for me, I'm just so early in my career that pretty much everyone I play is a first-timer. I haven't really thought about it like that.

But I don't know. I mean, every match when it comes to scouting reports, you know, I always get like a basis of what your opponent likes to do. For me, I prefer to just go out there and figure it out because you're a different player, especially if you haven't played them before. You don't know how they're going to play you. How they play someone else may be different on how they play you. You just kind of have to feel it out in the match.

Q. Today you're on the same court with Roger. Roger is on after you. Do you take note of that? How much pride do you take in that? What kind of influence would you say he's had on you at this stage of your career, things he might have helped you with?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I definitely take note of that. Part of the reason I was so nervous in my second-round match on Centre is because I saw he was following me again. Today I wasn't really nervous going in. I don't know why I was so nervous on my second round. Yeah, I do definitely take note.

It's pretty cool. I don't know, I like to think of it as opening up for me. You know how concerts, they have a big artist, then a smaller artist come before them. That's what I kind of like to think of it as. It's pretty cool.

Roger, yeah, he definitely has a big influence on my mentality on and off the court. He's always someone that I can go and talk to if I need advice. I mean, he's such a class act and someone that I looked up to. It's super nice that I'm able to open up for him, I guess, if that's the right terminology I use.

Hopefully if I can keep opening up for him, hopefully we can keep winning till the end.

Q. Is it important for you to be as much of a class act in your career as he has been in his?

COCO GAUFF: I mean, I want to be the best role model that I can be. I don't know, me and Roger have completely different personalities. I mean, he's older than me. I'm part of a different generation. I definitely look up to him and want to be like him, but I also want to be myself.

I don't think I'm ever going to be the person that he is because he's Roger, I'm Coco. But definitely I do take part and try to model my behavior after him in the way he is on and off the court.

Q. Earlier you talked about not feeling pressure out there so you can play free. Is it really that you see it that you're 17, you got nothing to lose or does it take a little bit of work to get there?

COCO GAUFF: Honestly it just depends on the match. My first round I wasn't nervous at all. I didn't feel any pressure. My second round playing on Centre Court, I felt a lot of pressure, felt like it was important that I needed to win. Today I didn't feel pressure.

It goes, to be honest, match by match. But I think everyone feels pressure. I think I found a good way for me to help deal with it. I try to take my play somewhere else, not at Wimbledon, not on Centre Court. Somewhere where I'm, like, at home on a practice court trying to make the setting seem less stressful.

At the end of the day the courts are the same, the lines are the same. Obviously around it is different, but we're still hitting a yellow ball. I try to think of it like that.

It's difficult. Sometimes you're not going to always feel free on the court. I try my best, when I notice myself getting nervous, I try my best to kind of calm myself down.

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