Coco Gauff’s coach Brad Gilbert has hailed the tennis star’s incredible progress in the past year, which saw her win a first Grand Slam title at the 2023 US Open.
Her win at Flushing Meadows was undoubtedly the highlight of a stellar 2023, and Gilbert drew comparisons with Gauff’s run at New York to Andre Agassi’s triumph at the 1999 French Open.
“As I look back on it, it so reminds me of a tournament that was really special, the ’99 French. Andre [Agassi] had to wrangle his way through five difficult matches.
“Coco, three different times she found herself a set down, once down a break in the third. So, she had to problem-solve. And those are the best kind of wins, where you grow the most, winning those types of matches.”
Among Gauff’s other stand-out achievements included her first WTA 500 title at the Washington Open, before taking her first at 1000 level in Cincinnati – beating Iga Swiatek in the final.
Gilbert spoke about his protégé’s desire to win at all costs, and how her rivals struggled to cope with the teenager at her very best.
“The ability to find a way [to win],” Gilbert responded when asked what clicked for Gauff in recent months.
“Find a way when you don’t have your best stuff. In Washington, we had one of those rare weeks where you just bomb through the field, and there wasn’t a close set.
“Even in Cincy [Cincinnati], she had only one close match, and that was against [Iga] Swiatek. All the rest of the matches were blowouts.”
Gilbert admits his own future as part of Gauff’s team is not his primary concern, but instead to push the American to new heights.
“We’re going to try and figure that out,” Gilbert added when asked about his future with Gauff.
“Obviously, I’m going to do more than I thought. You know what I think about most right now? Making progress. Especially when you’re young, it’s great what you’ve achieved, but it starts over again next year.
“If you asked [Gauff] at the start of 2023, her expectations were high. She sets a high standard, and she’s driven to get better. She’s never satisfied. She wants to achieve things — that’s all she’s thinking about.”