Gauff aims to harness 'mental fire' at Australian Open

Agence France-Presse
Gauff aims to harness 'mental fire' at Australian Open
US' Coco Gauff returns the ball to US' Jessica Pegula during the women's singles semifinal match at the WTA Finals tennis championships in Cancun, Mexico on November 4, 2023.

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Coco Gauff says she will try and use the "mental fire" that propelled her to US Open glory at Melbourne Park as she set her sights on winning multiple Grand Slam titles.

The 19-year-old American said her victory at Flushing Meadows in September already feels "so long ago" as she prepares for the Australian Open, which starts on Sunday.

"Some players' goal is to win a Grand Slam. Once they reach that, it's kind of what's next?" she said on Friday.

"For me, I always knew I wanted to win multiple. It was kind of easy to forget about it. Not 'forget'. I think that's the wrong word. Maybe just put it in the past and look forward to the future instead of dwelling on the past.

"I think for me the only thing I will try to remember from that Slam is just the way that I won. It wasn't my best tennis. It was more so the mental fire."

Gauff, who burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old at Wimbledon in 2019, said she was aiming for a big haul of Grand Slam titles.

"Right now I would say double-digits would be pretty awesome," she said. "I don't know if it will happen, but I think that's a high goal. I think setting my goals high pushes me beyond what I think I can do."

Gauff, the fourth seed in Melbourne, crashed out of Wimbledon in the first round last year, just weeks before her US Open triumph.

"I improved, but I think it was more so the mental side I improved," she said. "I think that for me, I know the value and the power of the mind.

"I think I need to remember that for the rest of my life. Even when I feel like I'm not playing great, your mind can change things. I think that was the difference between Wimbledon and the US Open."

The American, who successfully defended her Auckland Classic title on Sunday, faces Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the first round in Melbourne.

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