Jul/19

5

I Don’t See Greatness In Gauff

Coco Gauff has just won a rather pedestrian (as far as quality of play) second set tie-breaker against Polona Hercog to force a third set in this third round matchup. As a 15-year-old, Gauff will be the youngest player since Jennifer Capriati back in 1991 to reach the Wimbledon Round of 16. But watching Gauff play, I don’t think she’s in the same league as Capriati was as a young phenom.

Mary Joe Fernandez and Chris Evert are fulminating over “what a fighter” Gauff is. But just watching her play–I know the X factor is the high pressure she’s playing under on Centre Court–I’m seriously not that impressed. I think my son who’s two years and two months younger than Gauff would give her a run for her money (in two year when he’s 15, if he’d play the 15-year-old Gauff, I don’t think it’d be much of a match, but I’m sure Gauff’s parents would have a different opinion).

Gauff doesn’t have a weapon as far as I can see. She doesn’t the groundstrokes of Capriati. She moves well, but she’s allergic to the net, retreating to the baseline on grass when she’s pulled up to the service line. She throws in slices off both sides, but they’re not good slices; they float for the most part. Her serve is her best shot, but it’s not a Serena serve, at least yet. Her forehand backswing verges on the Gulbis.

I see a very fine player, especially for a 15-year-old, but greatness, no, I’m not seeing it. I like her serve, her movement and her competitiveness, but will they add up to greatness? I think she still has a lot of work to do. She has shown more ability to finish at the net in the third set, but her opponent is playing poorly.

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67 comments

  • catherine · July 5, 2019 at 3:13 pm

    Halep wiped the court with Azarenka so if she plays Gauff, and it looks like she will, we’ll maybe learn more about her. 3 sets v Hercog, who’s not a terrific player, is good, from the little I’ve seen of the match, but not overpowering.

  • catherine · July 5, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Yes, she’ll be playing Simona. Looking at the stats Cori hit only 3 aces in a 3 set 2.45 min match and had 6 dfs. That’s not the serving power you want to dominate the grown up game.

    She’s said ‘ I prefer the baseline’ and that’s how she plays. I’m not being cynical but at 15 I just think she’s too young to be anointed the Next Great Thing everyone’s desperate for in the WTA. It’s not fair on her.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    Did someone say they don’t see greatness in Gauff??? Take the blindfold off pal.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Gauff goes to net when she feels the need or has the opp. Gauff is not just great she can be all time great. Everything is there, everything.

  • catherine · July 5, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Scoop please – she needed 3 sets against moderate opposition. I know your tendency to hyperbole but at 15 she couldn’t possibly have ‘everything’. She hasn’t got maturity to start with. You have to wait for that.

    She can’t serve aces as a big weapon yet – 3 in a 3 set match ? It’s not doing her any favours, all this puffing.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    Catherine, the fact she is coming up with winning tennis in a major against seasoned veteran pros is astounding. She has everything except experience and when she gets that, everybody may have to go home. Sure it can go wrong, too much attention, too much pressure and expectation. But if they manage her career carefully, she can’t miss superstardom. I rate her a good chance to Gauff Halep too.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    Serena was not even playing majors until she was 17-18, when she made 2r, 4r, 3r 3r in 1998. Then she won US Open in 99 at 19. So Gauff is well ahead of Serena’s pace. But again, smart management will be key.

  • Hartt · July 5, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    When a 15-year-old has such good results we can certainly say she has a lot of potential. Of course she needs to improve a lot of aspects of her game. And who knows how she will do over the next couple of years? But she has shown she is a good competitor, and that is half the battle.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 5, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Did you find the Hercog-Coco match e citing tennis? I did not. A number of times they traded slice forehands. I don’t know if it’s because of the court’s slowness, but there were very few winners hit. It is remarkable at 15 Gauff has beaten three pros at Wimbledon. Maybe on the faster HS Open courts we’ll see more of Gaucf’s sizzle because I’m missing it now.

  • Harold · July 5, 2019 at 4:33 pm

    She’s 15 and beating pros with Junior tennis. All she wants to do is win. If she was all about sizzle, they’d blame the parents, Coach, Fed, and Godsick for selling sizzle.

    Let her play..

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    No, she’s a 15 year old with a pro game already. She has won numerous pro matches even before this week. She made finals of an Arizona ITF. She is already top 350 WTA. She has been playing pro level tennis since last year when she made her ITF pro debut. She is playing very intelligent tennis within herself, and its producing grand slam major main draw victories. Astounding work by this marvel who will surely get a US Open wildcard and probably many more WCs because everyone wants to see her now, she is a ticketseller now.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    Dan it’s not about exciting tennis, if you want to see exciting tennis, you can watch Marcelo Rios or Safin on you tube.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    Interesting that Djokovic said he was going to discuss the Gimelstob victim statement report today but broke that promise to Bill Simons if Inside Tennis. Saying he just wants to talk about tennis and will review the report later and talk about it later.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 5, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Oh will you let Gimelstob rest? He’s probably trying to get Alex Trebek’s job at Jeopardy by now. It is about the sizzle and playing exciting tennis. I disagree with you. When Venus and Serena broke out onto the scene, they not only played winning tennis, they played exciting tennis. Although, both of them are pretty much full bore’s right now.

    I like a lot about Gauff. Her mother’s got to calm down a bit in the box. Both of her parents look at her like she’s going to be the next coming of Steffi Graf and Serena. And maybe she will. I’m just not overly impressed by what I’ve seen so far. She’s won; she’s competed well, but i don’t get the feeling even in a few years with her rather cautious game she’s going to blow the doors off the competition like a young Seles.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    Simons is demanding answers from Djok and Anderson about why they are defending and supporting a violent thug who wants to regain power in ATP. They are planning to make Gimelstob ATP CEO and President next year. They are trying to sweep his assualt on Kaplan under the rug. They are journalistic heroes, Woodward and Bernsteining this hot potato topic.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 5, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Gauff is certainly capable of a Serena or Steffi career. She has been talked about like this for years by insiders. Now she’s finally emerged for the public to see. I remember one insider telling me two years ago, “You better get her Biofile now.” Boy was he right, she will be hard to get one on one from now on. How were Serena and Venus more exciting to watch back then than Gauff is now?

  • Dan Markowitz · July 5, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    Do you remember Venus at 14 in Oakland just killing the ball, ripping it, I don’t think Gauff hits with the reckless abandon that Venus did as a teen. Do you remember Seles? At 15, she beat Evert and then a month later reached the semis of the French losing to Graf. Firstly, there’s no one on the women’s pro tour now nearly as good as Graf was in 1989. And Seles hit the ball bigger and with more abandon than Gauff.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 5, 2019 at 8:55 pm

    What happened to Felix today? I didn’t see his match, but to lose to Humbert in straight sets is a bad loss. Firstly, why isn’t Humbert getting the raves? He’s just two years older than Felix. He’s got a cool first name too, Ugo! But this is a player who had won only one slam match before Wimbledon. It hasn’t been a good European slam swing for Felix.

  • Hartt · July 5, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    I did see the FAA vs Humbert match. Ugo played well, but Felix;s level was far drom his best. He said after the match that the pressure got to him, and you could tell he was nervous – one sure sign is he has trouble with his ball toss. The poor kid said a couple times that the match was embarrassing.

    He talked about how the top players managed the pressure and that was something he needed to do. For him, every match is a learning experience and he said he would learn from this week, from the wins and the loss.

    As far as his European Slam swing goes, he couldn’t play the French because of injury and made the third round at his first Wimby. He has done as well as the Big 4 did in their Wimby debuts, and I think he will be just fine.

    Player (Age) – Result 🇷🇸 Novak Djokovic (18) – 3rd round 🇨🇭 Roger Federer (17) – 1st round 🇪🇸 Rafael Nadal (17) – 3rd round 🇬🇧 Andy Murray (18) – 3rd round 🇨🇦 Félix Auger-Aliassime (18) – 3rd round (Tennis Canada twitter)

  • Anonymous · July 5, 2019 at 10:53 pm

    You have all probably seen that Gimelstob’s lawyer released a statement chiding the media for asking about his client. Djokovic today as a result chose not to comment on questions about Gimelstob after Wednesday’s fiasco of a press conference in which he claimed not to have read the victim’s statements.

    Djokovic’s meeting with Gimelstob was pre-arranged, and Gimelstob also spent time with John Isner pre-tournament and was scheduled to meet with Sam Querrey had he not reached the final at Eastbourne. The point is that this was not some random trip for Gimelstob and many ATP players knew he would be in town ahead of this vote.

    How Djokovic handled Wednesday’s line of questioning by Bill Simons has angered the anti-Gimelstob wing of the tour and rightfully so. I am guessing that Gimelstob’s lawyer told him to stop responding to this line of questioning in press sessions for the remainder of Wimbledon. Some are questioning whether Djokovic is telling the truth because of how much Gimelstob continues to influence him.

    One point of contention has emerged in that the Djokovic/Gimelstob group is pushing more player-run events like the Laver Cup. This is why Anderson and Isner, being participants, are so staunchly on this side.

    Conversely, a player like Robin Haase was opposed to these events that are based on invitation rather than sporting merit since someone in his position can never realistically qualify for a Laver Cup, be it on merit or by being a box-office draw like Nick Kyrgios or a top American like Jack Sock was. So, the top players want more control but the players ranked between 30-60 or so do not think these top players will act in their best interest.

  • catherine · July 6, 2019 at 1:40 am

    Gauff is nowhere near as impressive as Steffi was when she was 15/16. She doesn’t have a killer stroke and she doesn’t move as well. Corri may turn out a dominating WTA player but she isn’t bringing in anything new. It’s the conventional women’s game. To a high level no doubt, but no, not what I’d call exciting. And if she goes through to the final this year, as I said, that’s going to reflect badly on her opponents if they can’t find the right tactics and execute.

  • catherine · July 6, 2019 at 2:24 am

    And although Corri might not be that exciting in herself she can produce a ripple effect – who can beat her ? That’s what Chris Evert did, at 15. To quote BJK: ‘Chris saved women’s tennis’.Earlier I called the WTA ‘moribund’ and that’s what I meant. Something to wake them up. I can picture Halep and her team poring over game plans this weekend and moving tiny model players around a miniature court while watching videos of Gauff 🙂 Simona played an aggressive game to beat Azarenka, who sounded surprised and a bit upset afterwards, and she should stick to that. If she doesn’t she’ll be sunk.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 6, 2019 at 7:43 am

    Looks like Gimelstob colluded with ATP players and may have influenced the vote while he was supposed to be home dealing with his issues. Djokovic got destroyed by Simons and then broke his promise to talk about victim report after Hurkacz. These players are trying to pave the way for Gimelstob to be ATP CEO president. Federer has yet to make a comment on Gimelstob, ESPN and Tennis Channel won’t mention it either.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 6, 2019 at 7:44 am

    Hartt,

    You can spin it any way you want, losing to Ugo Humbert in SS even if it was the 3rd round is not a good result. Humbert probably has a game more suited for grass than other surfaces, but if you’re Felix, this was a very winnable match. I don’t like when players call matches or their play “embarrassing.” It suggests that either their opponent wasn’t worthy of him and it was embarrassing to lose or a haughtiness like, “How can I play this badly.” I always like for a player to say something like it was a tough day at the office and I know I can play–and I will play–a lot better going forward.”

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 6, 2019 at 7:45 am

    So how is Gauff into rd of 16 Wimbledon? Dumb luck and a soft draw?

  • catherine · July 6, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Scoop – she’s there because she beat Hercog (saving a match point) not because she’s the Second Coming. Can we just let her play, as Harold says ?

    CSN bt Lauren Davis 6-3 6-3. Angie, where were you ?

  • Dan Markowitz · July 6, 2019 at 8:14 am

    It’s a combination of both. The Venus win has been the most impressive and Hercog obviously was no pushover. Scoop, she’s solid, remarkable competitor for 15, but she’s not knocking my socks off. She’s a very fine athlete and is well-schooled as a player, but greatness? We shall see…so far I don’t.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 6, 2019 at 8:41 am

    What do you want to see to have your socks knocked off?

  • Dan Markowitz · July 6, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Let’s see her hit laser returns, serve and volley a little bit, chip and charge.

    Does anyone find it somewhat offensive that Barty and Georges are donning outfits with Jaguar and Porsche across the chests of their outfits? Pretty pompous and just over-the-top money grabs. Surprised Wimbledon with their all-whites would allow this marketing stunt.

    Stubbs just said Barty is 5-6 on a good day and most likely 5-4.

  • Harold · July 6, 2019 at 9:01 am

    Dan, did you fall on your head? This is the first time you’re seeing patches on Tennis clothes? Or is it the “ high end cars” patch, that you think is haughty? Zverev Jr wears a Richard Mille patch, watches start at 50 G.

    The most surprising, yet, telling story of Fed’s Uni deal. He could have gone total patch job, Rolex, Mercedes, Barilla, Lindt.. no patches. Nike broke their rule of no patches for Osaka

  • catherine · July 6, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Dan – Kerber has been wearing Porsche and Generali patches for a long time – but since you never watch her you probably haven’t noticed. She drives a Porsche and does publicity for the Co. Georges copped the Porsche deal when she briefly held the No 1 German ranking.

    Wimbledon have also allowed dicreet advertising for years.

    Barty has told us she’s 5 -7 and she should know. She’s clearly not 5-4. Just see her standing next to other players.

  • catherine · July 6, 2019 at 9:18 am

    Barty bt Dart 6-1 6-1 and Serena is about to sink Julia. Slight surprise – Riske bt Bencic.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 6, 2019 at 9:35 am

    No, Harold, I didn’t fall on my head, but I just did a headstand, but I put most of my weight on my forearms and wrists so I assure you, there’s very little pressure on my head.

    And Harold, this isn’t a little patch on the sleeve that Spadea got for putting some logo on his sleeve when he played Federerin 2006 USO in Louis Armstrong Stadium and I think got 3 g’s for. This is black printing on a white shirt/blouse right across the chest. I think it’s pretty gross and if I were Kerber, Barty or Georges I wouldn’t do it because it shows you’re a total shill. Why not tattoo Mercedes right across your cheekbones? Please.

    These women’s matches are like watching first round junior’s matches in Super Nationals. They’re usually over before you sit down to watch them.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 6, 2019 at 9:58 am

    Goerges had no chance vs Serena and it was obvious the whole match. She’s afraid to beat the Queen and always will be. Sandgren just won a marathon tiebreaker 14-12 and now leads Fog 2 sets to love. Q Ball is rolling through his draw. Rafa will smash Tsonga.

  • catherine · July 6, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Dan – did you get out of bed on the wrong side ? In these days of rampant commercialism wherever you look I really can’t see anything wrong with the Porsche etc patches. Is it because they’re women and slapped across their chests ? I’ve haven’t seen any feminist complaints. The Porsche is quite tasteful. Good German design. And to call Kerber, Georges and Barty shills when lots of worse stuff goes on is a bit much. All top players are selling something.

    I wouldn’t watch any more women’s matches if I were you. Maybe Gauff/Serena if that happens. But they aren’t very interesting I agree.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 6, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Why does Georges even show up to play Serena, she could win but you can see by her expression and body language she doesn’t really want to win, she’s afraid to. She just plays not to get steamrolled. Too many players play Serena with this wrong mindset. Gotta be feisty and in your face like Kenin was in Paris. Shame ESPN showed that yawner instead of the Sandgren vs Fog battle.

  • Jeff · July 6, 2019 at 10:13 am

    Dan, time will tell but Mats Wilander has echoed your comments on Gauff. I saw someone compare her to Ostapenko. Still way too early to put her in the Naomi and Barty echelon of players.

    How about a U.S. male QF? That is guaranteed now that Querrey will face Sandgren. Winner likely to face Nadal. And Kukushkin up 2 sets on Struff. What a run for the Kazakh.

    Kind of a ho-hum day so far. No big fights

  • Harold · July 6, 2019 at 10:27 am

    Wawa wears a “ Stan the Man” patch..how weak is that. Womens tennis a bore. Barty/ Williams might be the only interesting match..

    Wilander was one of my faves, but after the Harrison number 3 prediction, he should be out of the potential picking game

  • Dan Markowitz · July 6, 2019 at 10:30 am

    I don’t even know what that means to get off on the wrong side of the bed. Is there a right side to get off on? Anyway, I don’t sleep on a bed. I sleep on a straw mat that’s on the floor.

    Regardless, it’s not because they’re women. The men can do the same thing, but don’t seem to go there. Do the women do it because advertisers assume men and maybe women too are looking at their breasts? If so, these women who complain about being sexualized should think about that.

    Personally, I don’t like advertising on uniforms/outfits. I think the NBA has gone down the tacky road in doing so. These athletes make enough money.

    Great win for Sandgren as we all know how dangerous Foggy is.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 6, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Kukushkin is another one of these 5-10, 150 pounders slaying the giants. What is Mats Wilander’s cynicism of Gauff based on?

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 6, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Harold we all have struck out on some of our tennis predictions, Wilander is allowed a couple of whiffs too. Maybe he was right though, maybe Harry doomed himself by blowing that US Open MP vs Stakhovsky. Maybe that match broke him and could have made him.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 6, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Sandgren was 0-2 vs Fog, both close matches on clay last year, so this was not a shock. So far this year, Sandgren was 0-2 career vs Bublik, Simon and Fognini career and he managed to win the third try vs each. All in the last month. Sandgren solves puzzles.

  • catherine · July 6, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Dan – to ‘get of the bed on the wrong side’ is an English expression meaning, generally, to wake up in a bad mood.

    I don’t think the advertising on chests is particularly sexualising in intent. When you think about it, where else could it go ? Don’t know why but it would look funny on men. Their shirts are wrong.

    Scoop – Julia isn’t aggressive by nature. Lovely game but in the second rank. She did go six years between tournament wins. Stuttgart in 2011 and Moscow 2017. I remember in Moscow on match point there was a challenge – she was looking up at the screen and when it showed the point won she started to cry. I haven’t heard of anyone who dislikes Julia but she won’t win a Slam – just have a decent career.

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 6, 2019 at 10:58 am

    I wonder if BJK will make some kind of stand about advertising over female players chests? This is a form of exploitation. And inequality. georges is just too nice, she’s another Todd Martin type. Lots of talent, good power, good body for tennis, but too nice.

  • catherine · July 6, 2019 at 11:53 am

    Konta bts Stephens 6-1 FS. US better hang on to Williams and Gauff. Sloane just doesn’t seem to have the staying power for more than a couple of matches.

  • Hartt · July 6, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    I am surprised that Wimby allows the sponsor patches because they are so sticky about most things. But the men have them as well, it’s just that the names or patches are usually on the player’s sleeves. I was watching Berrettini vs Schwartzman and both had sponsors names on both sleeves. Diego had Peugeot on one sleeve. (I couldn’t read the other.) Matteo had Capri Watch on one sleeve, and once again I couldn’t read the other name. I know Milos has Jaguar on his sleeve.

    Because the women rarely have sleeves on their tops that isn’t an option for them.

  • Harold · July 6, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Shocked stodgy old Wimby allows Berrettini to wear black ankle braces. Probably get fined

  • Scoop Malinowski · July 6, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    Berretini surely got a fine for those black ankle supports. What I find laughable though is this silly notion that this magical run by Gauff is overrated or she’s not showing greatness. This is her first major main draw! Look at how Federer did at his first two Wimbledons – he lost 1R both times. Yet Gauff is into the round of 16 in her first go round. And our peanut gallery of armchair pundits are sniffing cynically. Gauff is the wonder of the entire sports world right now. She is playing super intelligent veteran tennis, smarter than Madison Keys IMO, getting a lot of balls back, nice slicing and hitting big pressure shots when needed. This is tennis fantasy magic by a teenager who earlier this year lost to the likes of Kaja Juvan, Quin Gleason, Taylor Townsend, Zoe Hives, Daria Kasatkina, Maria Sanchez, Timea Bacsinszky, Sesil Karatancheva, and Rebecca Peterson.

  • Jeff · July 6, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    Jack Sock is coming back to the tour in Atlanta. I am guessing he will take a wild card since he can’t get in directly.

    Did you guys know that Radek Stepanek and Nicole Vaidisova married again last year? That is crazy. I was trying to lern more about the Gimelstob case when I stumbled upon an article in which he said that she had a”well developed body.” Of course, I had to google her then and saw that she and Stepanek were married once, which I knew, but got married again. They may be role models for Svitolina and Monfils.

  • Dan Markowitz · July 6, 2019 at 9:42 pm

    Scoop,

    What’s your eye test telling you? Yes Rd of 16 for a 15 year old is sick, but I haven’t found what I’ve seen of her matches very compelling. Truthfully, I was more interested in Andreescu’s play earlier in the year than Gauff’s. I know Gauff is three years younger, but she strikes me as too much of put-together project and not a tennis savant or inspirational force. How many coaches did she have in the box along with her mom and dad the other day? Now to her credit, she didn’t look up at them all the time like some young players do, but I feel like I’m watching a young player who has been so thoroughly groomed that they snuffed a lot of the Vamos out of her.

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