USA girls’ captain Maureen Diaz knew that Coco Gauff had what it takes to become a tennis star and she was right. Now, Diaz expects her former trainee to start winning Grand Slams and to eventually become the world’s number one, according to an interview made by itftennis.com.
Diaz pointed out that she recognized Gauff’s champion DNA at the 2017 ITF World Junior Tennis finals that took place at Prostejov. There, Coco Gauff came back from 5-2 in the semifinal against Russia’s Maria Timofeeva to help USA beat Russia before defeating Ukraine in the final.
“That was the moment I thought ‘Coco is going to be a star. There was something about her, something in her, you could see it in her eyes – she had fire. She had presence and still does – it is pretty incredible.
When she was here in Prostejov, she had this aura about her. Every time she stepped out on court, she was so confident. She knew that she was a very strong player but she did have some tough tests here”, Diaz told ITF. Maureen pointed out the importance of the semifinal against Russia: “But in that tie against Russia, she proved what I knew and that was she had the biggest fighting spirit I have ever seen in a player.
She had this quality about her, a never-say-die attitude and that is one of the biggest memories I have of her. This was such an important tournament in her development. After here it was a rolling ball. It just took off and she kept on improving.
From there, you just knew her results would keep on improving and that it was a matter of time before we started to see what we’re seeing now”. Moreover, the USA girls’ captain has great expectations from Coco and these are not to be taken superficially as Maureen trained the newest American tennis star, so she knows what lies in there.
“I see her winning Grand Slams and becoming world No. 1. People compare her to Serena Williams but she always says: ‘I don’t want to be the next Serena, I want to be the first Coco’. She will determine her own path, that’s for sure.
I see her winning Grand Slams within the next two or three years”. We already know that Diaz foresaw Coco’s success, but one thing still managed to surprise the USA captain. “As I said, I knew she was going to be a great player, but the speed of how well she is improving is amazing.
It is incredible to see her maturity and how she is handling the pressure. The way she handles herself makes me very proud. She is very gracious and very humble. To this day, when she sees me, she greets me – nothing has changed.
The big tournaments haven’t changed her. She is still very hard-working also and that is one of the great things about her”, said Diaz. Now, as US Open gets closer and closer, Gauff has the chance to impress again after she became one of Wimbledon’s attraction points.