Published On: Fri, Jan 24th, 2020

What Roger Federer said to Coco Gauff after 15-year-old’s Australian Open win | Tennis | Sport


Coco Gauff revealed Roger Federer was one of the first people to congratulate her after she beat Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open.

The 15-year-old was the underdog as she made her debut on Rod Laver Arena in the day session on Friday.

However, Gauff showed no sign of any nerves as she knocked out the defending champion with a straight-sets win.

The American was in sheer disbelief during her on-court interview and as she headed to the locker room she bumped into 20-time Grand Slam winner Federer – after quick conversations with agents Alessandro Barel Di Sant Albano and Tony Godsick.

Ironically, Federer was also the third person who approached Gauff during her first-round loss at Melbourne Park in the junior tournament two years ago.

“Someone who came up to me was Roger, and that definitely had a big impact, because I think I won French Open [junior tournament],” Gauff said.

“I’m pretty sure French Open was my next tournament after that conversation I ended up winning. And actually Roger was also the third person I saw after my match today.

“After today, I still haven’t seen my parents. I saw Roger first and Alessandro and Tony. So, yeah, inside he told me, ‘Congrats’.

“I was, like, ‘Thank you’, trying to be calm. Inside, I was, like, ‘Oh, wow’.”

Gauff is managed by Federer’s TEAM8 Sports & Entertainment company but the teenager believes her 38-year-old counterpart would have been so welcoming even without their off-court links.

“Yes and no. I feel like Roger would have always been nice to me regardless, even though we have the Team8 connection,” she explained.

“He’s a nice person, and not just to me but I see him with other players, as well.

“He’s that type of guy. No matter how many times you speak to him, you’re still kind of in awe of his whole presence and what he’s done on the court and off the court.”

A number of seeds have tumbled out of the women’s draw – including Serena Williams and Osaka – so Gauff is confident she can make a challenge for the title.

She added: “I feel like even before the tournament I think almost every player has a belief that they can win it. Some stronger than others.

“So I don’t even think about the defending champion and all this, because in the moment, I’m just thinking about playing the ball.

“That’s what I’m going to be thinking about in my doubles tomorrow and my singles whenever I play singles, I don’t even know.

“But, yeah, I don’t really think about that. I just always have the belief I can win regardless of my opponents.

“Obviously today was a huge boost in confidence. But, yeah, I think I don’t really think too much about defending champion or ranking when I’m on the court.”



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