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Gauff, After Tough Aussie Open Loss to Sabalenka: Only Up From Here

The American was disappointed to not win her second major as a teenager, but still believes she’s on an upward trajectory in the sport.

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday January 25, 2024

Coco Gauff’s final Grand Slam as a teenager ended in disappointment, but the American is trying to see the positives after falling to Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(2), 6-4 on in the Australian Open semifinals on Thursday night in Melbourne.

“Overall a positive tournament,” Gauff told reporters after the loss. “I had chances in both sets, but she played better tonight. I felt like I did my best with the game plan that I had. I think it just came down to a couple of points, and that’s tennis.”

The American was bidding to become the fourth American teenager to notch 50 wins at the Grand Slams as a teenager, but fell one victory short. She expressed mixed emotions about her performance.

The Americans that won 50 or more matches as teenagers were Mary Joe Fernandez (57), Tracy Austin (56) and Jennifer Capriati (50).

“I just feel like I look at the glass half empty, so I’m negative,” she said. “Then I looked at that stat and I’m like they had great careers. So I’m in the right direction. I just have to remind myself of the journey and not so much of the moment.

“I am really proud of myself. I did want to win a slam as a teenager, and I did that. Obviously today I was hoping to get No. 2, or at least give myself a chance to get No. 2. It didn’t happen, but I feel like I’m there, yeah. So hopefully I can go only upwards from here.”

Despite the loss, Gauff can take solace in the fact that she reeled off a 12-match Grand Slam winning streak and won her maiden major title in her last two Grand Slams as a teenager (she will turn 20 in March). She has already played two major finals, winning one, and owns a record or 49-17 at the Grand Slams.

Though disappointed, she wanted to make it clear that she is having fun and enjoying her journey, and won’t let one result define her narrative.

“Yeah, I am having fun. I feel like if I ever get to a moment where I stop having fun, I would take a break,” she said. “I think for me the most important thing is to continue that, having fun. Even though tonight I lost, it was still a great competitive match.

“I watched these matches growing up and, like, watching Serena and watching Sharapova lose, like, these [types of] matches. It seems like when you’re in it, it feels like the end of the world. But then when you look at history, they didn’t let one match define their career.”

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