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“I want to become a more aggressive server,” said Coco Gauff. So, who did she go to for guidance in the offseason? One of the greatest servers our sport has seen: Andy Roddick. After Roddick “simplified Coco’s motion, abbreviated a little bit,” per Brad Gilbert, she came to the Australian Open and showcased it from the get-go. It looked like her second serve had improved, too – 26 double faults in 6 matches. But as the season has progressed, that’s changed. And Roddick couldn’t help but address it.

As the calendar heads into the second Grand Slam, Gauff failed to achieve her goal before playing in the French Open. She wanted to win a tournament on clay, having last won a title on the surface at the 2021 Emilia Romagna Open. The thing is, this year has been primarily about Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, and Elena Rybakina. The ‘Big 3’ have left Gauff behind a little, partly due to her inconsistent serving. Discussing this on the Served with Any Roddick podcast, the legend mentioned her Rome Masters run.

Having made it to the semifinals after a tough but impressive run, Gauff went up against Swiatek, losing 6-4, 6-3. While the score may not suggest how well the 20-year-old played, Roddick sure appreciated her performance. But he also felt like something was missing. “Coco had a great semi in Rome. But you’re kinda searching for something a little bit,” he said on the podcast. Elaborating, he added, “[She] hit the forehand as well as I have seen her hit it, [but the] serve is still a bit… her first serve is actually a lot better in Rome. Second serve is still, you know, she is battling it.”


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Roddick dug deeper into Gauff’s mental situation and said, “I think she is battling a bit of a mental issue on the serve. You can do it [how you want to] in practice, but doing it in under the lights is a different deal.” While practicing, trying out new things is a piece of cake. But when it comes to implementing those aspects in real match situations – when there’s a lot on the line, especially when it’s to do with your second serve – doing something new is quite difficult. Not physically, but mentally.

As they say, tennis is as mental as it is physical. And the thing is, the second serve has always been a problem for Coco Gauff. Andy Roddick alluded to her mental block, too. “She’s had it before. Like the last tournament she played in Cancun last year, she had 25 double faults in one match in  November of last year,” he said, referring to the WTA Finals. However, he does believe she can find rhythm in it again. However, “the ability for her to get through the tournaments and beat top players even if obviously struggling with something is phenomenal.” 

After her win against Paula Badosa at the Italian Open, Gauff said exactly this. Even though her first-serve percentage hasn’t been all that good, she’s been able to win most points when she puts her first serve in play. “Getting the first serve in play more often is something I want to work on,” she said. But is her “more aggressive” method the way to go? If she gets more aggressive on her first serve, wouldn’t that increase her chances of missing (at least in the beginning)? Maybe the beginning is what we’ve seen in these first few months of 2024, where she’s getting used to her new serve.

TournamentMatched PlayedDouble Faults
Stuttgart Open223
Madrid Open324
Italian Open545

Performance-Plus Tennis, a YouTube channel, recently discussed Coco’s serve and performance in Rome 2024. They highlighted a shocking number concerning the World No. 3’s faulty second serve: 41 double faults in 4 matches. Her second-round match was particularly concerning, where she seconded 15 double faults and a first-serve percentage of 51%.

Moreover, Gauff has committed a staggering 213 double faults in 2024, a significantly higher number than any other player in the top 100. This inconsistency with her serve has raised questions and sparked discussions about potential solutions to improve her game. Even before this episode of the Served with Andy Roddick podcast, the former player highlighted Gauff’s struggle with the second serve.


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He said, “Swiatek, Sabalenka, and Rybakina have separated themselves from her so far this year. Coco’s a second serve away from reasserting herself into that conversation. From where I sit, the ball toss looks a little too forward on the second serve.” Maybe this is what she’s focusing on before the French Open, considering she revealed that she’s working on her style to avoid Rome’s failure in Paris.

Coco Gauff confirms “working on” her serving skills before Roland Garros


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A strong serve is a key advantage in tennis, but US Open champion Coco Gauff has encountered difficulties with her delivery during the clay-court season. Leading up to the Italian Open, she averaged nearly 10 double faults per match on the slower surface. Despite this challenge, Gauff overcame 11 double faults in her three-set victory over Paula Badosa in Rome’s R16. The 20-year-old expressed optimism for improvement before the French Open.

“I’ve been working on it,” she said. “Today, even though the double-faults were there, it was still a better performance than it was last [match]. For me, the focus will be getting more first serves in. I’m going big on the first serve, so I know I’m probably going to miss more. I think it’s just finding the balance of going big but also knowing when to slow down the pace just to get the serve in.”