“Fantastic Athlete”: Martina Navratilova Predicts Bright Future For Coco Gauff

Published 03/20/2021, 11:22 AM EDT
Coco Gauff of the U.S. in action during her first round match against Britain’s Johanna Konta REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


Tennis stalwart Martina Navratilova has predicted a bright future for American teen sensation Coco Gauff.

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Giving her take on the 17-year-old, who turned heads with an upset win over seven-time Major champion Venus Williams in her Grand Slam debut at Wimbledon, Navratilova said Gauff has unbridled potential, and with some upskilling and work on certain technical aspects she could rule the roost in the coming years.

Though the teen failed to progress beyond the second round of this year’s Australian Open, she’s redeemed herself with strong runs at subsequent WTA events.

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“Moves great, has a nose for the ball”: Martina Navratilova on Coco Gauff

Gauff reached the semi-final of Adelaide International before going down to Swiss star Belinda Bencic and followed it up with a quarter-final run at WTA Dubai.

Assessing her game, Navratilova said that if she can pack a bit more power into her forehand, it could be the difference between those quarter-final and semi-final runs and tournament wins.

Coco Gauff of the United States celebrates after winning match point during her Women’s Singles third round match against Naomi Osaka of Japan day five of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

“She’s a fantastic athlete. She moves great, has a nose for the ball,” the 18-time Grand Slam champion said, adding that her sideways movement on court is just as good as her driving forward runs.

Martina Navratilova says she’s looking forward to seeing Coco Gauff evolve

The legend added that while she is impressed by what she has seen of her net-play but that there is room for improvement in her “transition game” (switching from offense to defense and vice-versa). She expects the 17-year-old to put more work into her serve and volley and use them as her trusted weapons going forward.

In a big statement, Navratilova said there’s no “limit” to how far the American can go if she works on the technical side and develops a better big-match temperament and nous.

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“I’m looking forward to seeing her evolve and improve,” the nine-time Wimbledon champion said.

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One of the many up-and-coming women tennis stars in American, alongside the likes of Sofia Kenin, Jennifer Brady, Amanda Anisimova and her doubles partner Caty McNally, Gauff will be one of the home favorites at the upcoming Miami Open.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

858 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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