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September 1, 2021

Coco Gauff

New York, New York, USA

Press Conference


6-4, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Your thoughts on the match tonight.

COCO GAUFF: Sloane played really well. I think tonight I just didn't play my best tennis that I could have. All the games were close. I just feel like I could have done a lot better returning and also on, like, pressure points, putting the ball in the court.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Sloane has won this tournament before. What do you think about the level she's playing at? Do you think she can contend for the title?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, definitely. Today she was playing well. I knew these last couple tournaments she's been playing better and better. I hope that she can make it all the way to the end.

I mean, obviously if you are going to lose, you want to lose to the champion.

Q. Now that your slam season is complete, can you reflect on that and what you're proudest of.

COCO GAUFF: I think obviously the standout was the French Open quarterfinal. The goal is always to win, so obviously I think I can do a lot better. But I feel like I have a lot to improve on. I think today's match showed what I need to improve on.

I still have doubles, so it's not quite over. Singles-wise, I think I have a lot to work on. I'm going to go back to work once this is over.

Q. What was it like to face Sloane? Any different playing Sloane because of the connection that you have?

COCO GAUFF: Not really. Anybody I play, I don't really focus on the name or anything, about the person. It's just so much the ball. Obviously I have a lot of respect for Sloane, looked up to her for a while, known her since I was little.

Yeah, but I don't think our relationship affected the match.

Q. What do you think you've learned from this year maybe compared to last year?

COCO GAUFF: I think that I feel like I've learned that I'm capable of making it far in slams. I think if I tighten up a few things, that I'm capable of winning one. The past couple slams I've lost to players that have gone to the quarters or won eventually, so it shows that I'm there.

I feel like there's just an experience lacking that I have. I definitely think it shows. I think that I just need to play more matches so I feel more comfortable on the pressure moments.

Q. What were you thinking out there trying to counter her forehand? What worked and didn't work?

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I will say she probably hit her forehand the best that I've seen in a long time. Also that could be just different because this is my first time facing her. I never practiced with her, so... That could just be my own thing because this is my first time feeling her ball.

But she definitely played well tonight. She definitely was the better player tonight.

Q. She told us you hit together when you were 12 years old.

COCO GAUFF: Yeah, I was 12. I definitely don't remember how her ball felt when I was 12. She definitely was probably taking some pace off then. I don't really count that (smiling).

Q. (Question about Sloane's 21st birthday party.)

COCO GAUFF: I do. Not the details. I believe it was in her grandparents' or somebody in her family's backyard. It was a big get-together for her family and everything.

It was fun. I don't know how old I was. I definitely was young. My mom probably has a picture from that.

Q. What is your schedule the rest of the year?

COCO GAUFF: I have no clue yet. I mean, obviously there's Indian Wells. I plan on playing that. In between all of that, I don't know yet.

Q. You have a chance to qualify for the WTA Finals.

COCO GAUFF: I haven't really thought about that either. If I do, I will probably play. I mean, it would be great to qualify, but to be honest it's not like one of my goals this year.

I think I feel like for me that tournament personally is one of those things that if it happens, it happens. I feel like for me, if I start thinking about that, I will stress about it. So if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it doesn't.

Even though I didn't go to the Olympics, I did qualify for the team and that's how I approached that. It's just one of those things. If it happens, great. If not, oh well.

Q. Do you remember where you were for the Madison Keys/Sloane Stephens final?

COCO GAUFF: I was not in the stadium. I think that year was the year I finaled in US Open juniors, 2017. I don't remember where I was watching the final match. I definitely was in New York. I just don't know where.

I do remember I think Sloane won her semifinal because I think the junior final is the day before the women's final. I remember seeing her. She was like, What happened? I lost the match 0-3, like a really bad score. I just sort of got nervous. She won that year, so...

Then the crazy thing is that the year she finaled at French Open, I won the junior tournament. Now it won't ever happen, but I was thinking at the time maybe we could win the main and the junior at the same time.

Q. You watched the final?

COCO GAUFF: I did watch the final. I just don't remember where I was.

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