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Coco Gauff’s forehand has been her Achilles heel for quite some time. This has been evident during her clashes with Iga Swiatek on the women’s tour. The Polish tennis star currently has a dominating 10-1 lead in her head-to-head record against her American opponent. Well, on that note tennis icon Martina Navratilova has some advice for Gauff, echoing a similar sentiment she shared ahead of the 2024 season.

Despite having an array of skills at her disposal, the reigning US Open champion’s forehands are considered one of the biggest ‘what ifs’ in the racquet game, as they have resulted in several errors and surprise loses. Wimbledon 2023 comes to mind, where Gauff started as one of the favorites but went out in the first round. Her forehand let her down throughout and while she has improved somewhat, there is some way to go her.

In light of Gauff’s forehand issues and dismal record against Swiatek, Navratilova said, ” Well, you’ve got to improve the forehand somehow. You can get away with beating a lot of people with it, but it’s just not as solid as it needs to be at the top of the game for her to really start dominating,” while speaking to the Tennis Now on the Tennis Channel conference call.


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In the Rome Open semifinals last week, despite conceding an early break, Iga Swiatek dominated the later stages of the match, winning eight of the last eleven games to secure a straight-sets victory (6-4, 6-3) over Coco Gauff. The Hall of Famer Navratilova also opened up about how the American tennis prodigy ‘can dominate’ against top players like Swiatek if she improves her forehand.

She also talked about what how she would improve Gauff’s nagging issue. She explained, “I would tweak the grip a little bit — you don’t have to tweak it too much. You can just do it a little bit at a time so that it still feels comfortable. But she needs a bigger sweet spot, a bigger hitting zone on the forehand. It’s a small hitting zone with such an extreme grip and it just limits you.”

This could mean shifting to a more semi-western grip for Gauff, which will give her a bigger strike zone on her forehand, allowing her to tackle tricky low balls better. Navratilova also pointed out that a grip change would mean she will not need to move her racquet hand as much when returning. Apart from the forehand, Navratilova also shed light on another issue in Gauff’s game on the court.

More than any other player in the top 100 on the circuit, the young American tennis star has conceded 213 double faults so far this season. Notably, during the same conversation, Martina opened up about how Gauff should improve her first serves to cut down on the double faults. “You don’t want to keep harping on it, but also make her serve into a bigger weapon, a lot more solid,” she advised.

I think she just needs to make that serve a little bit more of a weapon, get some free points.” This isn’t the first time, Navratilova has pointed out issues with Gauff’s game. In November last year, in an interview with WTA, she talked about what Gauff can do to take the next step.

She said, “The next step for Coco? What happens with the forehand? Will she start hitting more forehands down the line or rolling it crosscourt? Late in the season, I noticed she was hitting those loopy forehands more often.” Gauff’s grip could be limiting her ability on the low balls as she has often missed quite a number of them during crunch situations.

Gauff’s forehand has cost her on more than one occasion. In 2022 she lost in the WTA Finals and then suffered a defeat in the French Open final in the same year at the hands of her nemesis Iga Swiatek. In that encounter, Gauff missed two routine forehands, hitting the top of the net with one and then on break point looping a forehand beyond the baseline in the very first game.

The American has a 17–25 (40.5%) win-loss record against players ranked in the top 10 at one point, which highlights her forehand game hindering her chances against high quality opponents and allowing her “dominate” as mentioned by Navratilova.


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Not only Martina Navratilova, but tennis legend and 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick pointed towards the “mental issue” concerning Gauff’s serve.

Andy Roddick claims to have seen Gauff’s “headache” under the spotlight

On his podcast “Served,” tennis legend Andy Roddick analyzed Coco Gauff’s recent performance. While acknowledging her strong showing in the Rome semi-final, Roddick pointed towards her serve as a point of concern. “Coco had a great semi in Rome. You are kinda searching for serve a little bit. Hit the forehand as well as I have seen her headache,” Roddick observed.


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While Roddick pointed out how World No. 3’s first serve seems fine at the moment, her second serve remains a challenge. “Serve is still a bit, her first service actually a lot better in Rome. Second serve is still, you know, she is battling,” he elaborated. Roddick’s comments suggest that she’s battling a bit of a mental block with the serve, especially under the spotlight. “I think she is battling a bit of a mental issue on the serve and you know you can do it in practice. But doing it in under the lights is a different deal.”

Gauff certainly needs to find the rhythm on the court if she wants to pose a serious challenge to the ‘Queen of the Clay,’ Swiatek, who has already defeated her on the court this season. Do you think that the American tennis prodigy can level up her game on the court if she improves her forehand and first serves? Let us know in the comments section.