Tennis Prose



Is Coco Overrated and Overhyped?

If you strip away all the excessive hype and promotion of Coco Gauff, is she really much better than Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Sofia Kenin or Danielle Collins?

Yes, Coco Gauff is a very exciting, flamboyant player who wins a lot of matches in singles and doubles. She’s in the top five of the rankings because she earned it. She has an energy and charisma on court that stands out from the pack. But there are some flaws in her arsenal and it’s fairly clear she does not have the nuclear weapons to be a dominant force like Serena Williams, Steffi Graf, Serena, or Monica Seles. But then again, you never know, the right combination of coaching chemistry can create magic. Anything can happen, just ask Su Wei Hsieh, Flavia Pennetta, Marion Bartoli, Jennifer Capriati, Hingis…

Gauff lost last night in three sets to Maria Sakkari at BNP Paribas Open, the same Sakkari who admitted a month ago her confidence was so deflated that she couldn’t hit a ball into the court. But Sakkari somehow found a spark of energy and self belief and is a new player after hiring David Witt as her new coach.

Gauff, just turned 20 years old, burst on the seen about a half decade ago with a stunning Wimbledon run which was more impressive than Serena Williams at the same age. She’s a dynamo on the court, quick as a cat, fueled by her iron will to win and emotional adrenaline but as one former WTA top 30 player told me, “She still hits forehands 25 feet out, Graf and Seles never did that in my era…”

If the tennis media did not over-hype and over-market her as Serena II and she didn’t attract so many

high powered sponsors, is she really any different or superior than Keys, Sloane, Collins or Kenin?

I don’t think she is. Yet. But there’s plenty of time for the 2023 US Open champion and world no. 3. And anything can happen… just ask Emma, Juan Martin, Goran, Jana Novotna (RIP), Andre, Stan…

Artwork by Ted Dimond.

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