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September 8, 2021

Coco Gauff

Caty McNally

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Could you tell us your thoughts about the very impressive win today.

CATY McNALLY: Yeah, I mean, today was a really tough match. Going into it we knew it was going to be very tricky. Su-Wei brings a different type of game style than anyone we've seen before. You have to stay on your toes and be ready for pretty much everything, which I think we did a great job.

I got broken a couple times in the second set. I think we were able to regroup very well, keep attacking on the returns, give us great opportunities to break them again. We played a great tiebreaker in the second set, a bunch of really good points. I think that's what helped us a lot.

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, basically what she said. I think today we just competed really well for every point. Going into the match we knew they were going to be a tough team to beat. They're not the No. 1 seeds for no reason. I'm glad we brought our A game today.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What is your comfort level together as a team?

CATY McNALLY: I think the first time that we played here in juniors a couple years ago, from the start I think everyone knew there was something special. I think we knew there was something special with the way we got along, kind of just clicked. Everything gelled so easily, like our games.

I think over time we've just been able to really improve the little things that maybe we lost some matches, really close matches, due to. We always pick each other up.

Today there were a couple times I got down. Coco was able to really pick me up, tell me to bounce on my feet, just get ready. I think that was really helpful. I'll do the same to her just to get us going.

COCO GAUFF: Do you want me to answer, too? I don't really have anything to add.

The main thing that makes us hard to beat is our chemistry with each other. If one of us is off, the other one is always there to cover.

Q. This has been a big tournament for teenagers. Feels like a shift in the results. What do you make of the results?

COCO GAUFF: I think there's definitely a shift. For me, I always knew it was going to come. I'm glad. I'm so happy for Leylah and Emma. I've known both of them for a long time. They're both super nice girls, and I'm always cheering for them.

Yesterday during Leylah's match I was supposed to leave at the beginning of the third to go out in the city. I told my mom I couldn't leave yet. I had to wait till that third set finished. It ended up being long, but it was worth the wait. I am glad that Leylah came out, and I am rooting for both of them. Hope we get a teenager final.

It's definitely inspiring. It inspires me to do better and work harder.

CATY McNALLY: Yeah, no, for sure, I think it should just give everyone the inspiration to just go out there and say, Why not me? That's what they're doing, going out there every match, playing so fearless. Why not me going to the semis, quarters, or winning it?

They're playing very boldly, fiercely. Obviously we're not still in the singles, but I think we can do the same thing in doubles. Keep going, take every match one point at a time, prove that age is just a number.

Q. You were the first of your age group to make a big run in a Grand Slam. Now that you see girls you played against making this kind of run, how do you process that? Do you measure yourself by them?

COCO GAUFF: No, I definitely don't measure myself by them. I just don't do that with everyone because we're all different, we're all going to have our time to shine at some point.

It definitely is inspiring because we've all been close in level for a long time. It shows that I think we -- I feel like for me personally, I feel like I can make it to semis, finals because they're doing it. I don't know if they saw that when I did it.

It inspired me definitely today in practice. We were practicing the same time as Leylah. I just felt like I need to work harder to get to where she is.

I don't know, I'm just super inspired by both of them. Like I said, I'm always going to root for my age group just because we're all kind of friends and we all are rooting for each other. It definitely inspires me.

Q. You've played most of the top players in singles. How do you rate their chances to win this tournament?

COCO GAUFF: I mean, for me, I think they're in the semifinals, they obviously have a shot to win it. Like I said, I'm rooting for them. There's no way I can tell the future.

I do believe if they keep playing how they're playing, they're going to win it, hopefully have a teenager champion in singles, and doubles with us just to show the world that this new generation, Gen Z, we're coming and we're coming strong.

Q. Can you put into words what you think your generation is going to bring?

CATY McNALLY: I mean, I think, like, I've been watching all of Emma and Leylah's matches. I think they're just showing how they're not afraid to go out there on the biggest stages in the world. This is their first time ever playing on Arthur Ashe I think for both of those girls. It was just amazing to see.

It kind of reminded me of Coco when I used to watch her on these big stages, honestly how bold and fierce she was, not afraid to go for her shots, get the crowd engaged. And I think they've both won over the crowds here in New York. I think that's been very helpful for them just to have that support behind them every single point.

Yeah, I mean, it just shows no one's afraid. Age is a number. Yeah, I mean, it inspires me to go out there and work harder and say, Why not me?

Q. What happens out there when you're swinging free, nothing to lose, and then when it tightens up?

COCO GAUFF: There's definitely moments in the match, at least with me, that I do find myself getting tight. I think for me, I have to, especially during my singles this week, do better, learn how to not make so much of the moment. It's just a tennis match. You win or lose. At the end of the day your life isn't -- yes, it's going to change in some areas, but you're still going to have your friends and family with you. It's not going to be anything terrible that will happen if you lose.

I think sometimes I put myself in that mindset, that it's going to be the end of the world when I lose. It definitely affects how I play because I'm not playing free.

Both Leylah and Emma, I don't know how they're feeling on the court obviously, but from what it seems like on TV, they're definitely playing free and they're just happy out there.

Q. Could you repeat what your message was to Gen Z on the court after the match.

COCO GAUFF: The interviewer asked me a question, something about age. I just saw, like, that crowd is obviously a young crowd, Armstrong is always a young crowd. I saw a lot of kids out there.

I wanted them to know it definitely can happen to them. I just think if you dream it, you can do it. All those kids out there just reminded me of me when I was here in US Open watching people play, thinking that I can make it. It's always like such a big dream.

People always say, Yeah, every kid thinks they're going to be No. 1 and stuff. I think every kid should believe that and should work for it; don't let adults tell you that you can't do it.

I do think, especially as a kid, the biggest dream crushers are sometimes parents. I'm lucky I never had parents that would crush my dreams.

At least with my parents, my dad always said that he wished he had a dad like him, that said he can just take basketball, not just to pay for school, but to take it further. He never wanted that with his kids.

I just want those kids out there to hear it from me if they're not hearing it from their parents.

Q. Coco, what stands out the most to you about Leylah's game?

COCO GAUFF: Definitely her aggressiveness. She takes the ball early, doesn't give you much time. I practiced with her a couple times, played with her in juniors, but practiced with her on the pro circuit a bunch of times. She takes the ball early and it doesn't give you much time to think or do anything. She obviously has great anticipation skills which I think she showed in the tiebreaker against Svitolina.

Q. Dabrowski and Stafani next. What stands out to you about that matchup?

CATY McNALLY: Yeah, I mean, I think they're both obviously well-experienced doubles players. It seems like they've been playing a lot together recently, having some good success.

For us, we're just going to focus on ourselves, try to play our game, and not worry too much about them. I mean, I'm sure we'll do some scouting of them playing recently. But I think we're just going to enjoy winning today and just get ready again like we do for every match.

Q. What were your impressions of each other when you first met?

CATY McNALLY: I think the first time I met Coco, I'm pretty sure it was at USTA.

COCO GAUFF: I don't remember.

CATY McNALLY: I'm pretty sure it was Orlando. I think we played a tiebreak against each other.

COCO GAUFF: We were going to Mexico.

CATY McNALLY: We practiced a couple days in Florida before we all headed out there.

We didn't talk that much. We didn't talk at all.

COCO GAUFF: We didn't.

CATY McNALLY: We didn't know each other.

COCO GAUFF: We did not dislike each other. I was the youngest of the bunch. It was two age groups: 14, 16. She was on the 16, I was on the 14-year-old team. I was scared of you guys, so I didn't say anything (laughter).

CATY McNALLY: She was still killing it in every single match. Then I think we started to kind of get to know each better when we went to Birmingham, played a friendly against Great Britain. We played with each other. I think we won 6-0, 6-0 the first match. That's when we decided we wanted to play junior US Open.

I mean, it's just kind of sprung from there into this amazing friendship and partnership on the court, which has been really special.

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, basically that's how we met. But I remember having more interaction with her in England. I don't know, I just didn't really talk because I was just scared of the older girls. Not that she was mean or anything. You know, like you're the youngest one there. These girls are veterans. They all looked so professional. I didn't know what I was doing.

CATY McNALLY: I was, like, 14.

COCO GAUFF: No, you were, like, 15.

CATY McNALLY: And you were 13.

COCO GAUFF: No, I was 12.

Anyways, they were like top ITF players. I'm new to the scene off a wild card. I didn't know what I was doing. But she's really nice obviously (laughter). I feel like now I'm more the bully.

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