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August 10, 2021

Coco Gauff

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Press Conference

C. GAUFF/A. Sevastova

6-1, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you walk us through your match and how you felt your performance was out there today.

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I started off obviously very strong in the first set. I was pushing her deep and causing her to make a lot of unforced errors.

In the beginning of the second she definitely stepped her game up, started to put more first serves in the court, started to push me deeper in the court, which also caused me to commit more unforced errors.

When I went down the break, I realized I have to stop trying to go for small targets and start aiming for bigger targets. Yeah, that basically is what won me the set, which is being patient and playing the ball deep.

Q. You played Sevastova twice earlier this year. You won the first set, lost the second. Any uncertainty when you went down a break in the second set?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I mean, I can't sit here and lie and say I didn't think about it. I for sure thought about it.

The last couple matches we played, I won the first and lost the second. In the time before she won the first and I won the second. But we split sets almost every time, I believe. I could be wrong. So I definitely thought about it.

I think that's what caused me to go down that break because I was overthinking it in my head too much. I think I just focused more on this match and not worried about previous matches.

Q. How did you find the conditions out there today?

COCO GAUFF: It was a little bit windy today in some areas. I think we both had trouble finding our timing. I think we had a high unforced error count between the both of us. I think we were both having trouble finding our timing. I think the points got better towards the end of the second set.

Q. Is the court to your liking? You play a power game. Some of the women have been saying it's not quite as fast as some other courts. How does it feel to you?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, it's definitely not the fastest I played on. Where I train at home, I train on a fast court. I actually prefer playing on a fast court, practicing on a fast court, and then coming to courts like this which are not as fast.

I wouldn't say it's necessarily slow, but it's not as fast as the one I play on at home. That's the reason I practice on the fast court, is because it makes the matches in other courts seem slower.

Q. Sevastova used to be a tricky opponent for you. What do you think you made different today to have a better result? Also, can you talk a little bit about your next round against Potapova, a young player like you.

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, Sevastova obviously gave me problems in previous matches. Even today she's still a tough opponent. Today I just came out on top. She's not an easy opponent. She can mix up the game really well, which is what you don't see often on the women's tour. It's definitely troublesome.

But what I adjusted today was just focusing more on myself and not about what she does on her side of the court. I think in the past I overthink of what she can do. Sometimes it's just better to make your opponent play the ball.

At the end of the day, we're all professional tennis players, we're all going to make good shots. I just have to focus and believe that I can make a good shot, too (smiling).

About Anastasia, she's young, she's around my age. We played each other before. It's going to be a good match. I think last time we played was three sets. Yeah, I think it was three sets or a close two sets at US Open I believe. So it's going to be a tough match. But I'm going to be ready, regardless.

Q. What can you say about your experience with COVID and how do you feel now physically?

COCO GAUFF: I mean, my experience with COVID, the timing of it was terrible. The actual experience wasn't too bad. I didn't have symptoms other than loss of smell. My dad and my brother had it at the same time as me so I didn't have to quarantine alone. They also didn't have much symptoms. We were one of the lucky ones. I know unfortunately other people weren't as lucky. I'm super grateful that I was able to come out of it unharmed and unscarred.

Q. Earlier this year you had a bit of a problem with the second serve. You were making a few double-faults. You seem to have solved that problem now. Would you say it was more of a mental issue or did you work on some technical aspects of the shot?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I definitely would say it was more of a mental issue when I had those double-fault problems. I was in practice making like 40 serves in a row, then I would get to the match and not be able to make one. It was definitely a mental issue.

I guess now I finally found the term to it. As Simone Biles called it, she called it the twisties. Obviously in tennis we won't get hurt from double-faulting like with the twisties in gymnastics. I think that's what I had on the serve.

Obviously you're not going to get injured from it, it's not as serious of a thing as it is in gymnastics. I think that's what I had on my serve. It's all mental.

Once you get out of it, once I got out of it, like you said, I got out of it, and I don't have as many double-faults.

It just took a lot of repetition, breaking down the serve, in practice making up game situations, trying to put yourself in pressure. But it took a long time.

Q. How are you working out these mental issues? Are you working with a psychologist?

COCO GAUFF: I mean, with the serve, that so far has been the only problem I had regarding a mental issue that showed in my game. That was just working with my coaches and my parents.

I don't currently have a psychologist. I feel like with me, I do a lot better -- my personal preference is to journal. I journal a lot. I guess my journal's kind of my psychologist. That's how I've worked through most of my problems.

Also my mom, the one I go to talk to whenever I feel anything. She was a DI athlete, as well. I think me and her have similar personalities. When I feel like I need to talk to someone, my mom is always there for me.

But for me, I guess coping with everything on tour and everything, journaling is the thing that helps me the most.

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