A year ago, at Wimbledon 2019, 15-year-old Coco Gauff was given a wild card to enter the qualification round.
She proceeded to make the main draw, and then became the youngest player since Jennifer Capriati in 1991, to win a main draw match at a Grand Slam, when she beat the draw’s oldest player and five-time champion Venus Williams, then 39.
By that time, she had already been the youngest ever player to reach the final of a junior Grand Slam, when she reached the summit clash of the French Open in 2017 – aged just 13.
But it was at Wimbledon where she truly transitioned to the big league. And with the US Open beckoning, she feels there’s an advantage for her in what will be the first Grand Slam to be played behind closed doors.
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“It will be easier for me to address,” the 16-year-old said to BBC. “I’ve only been on tour a year so I will just go back to my junior years when we didn’t have much of a crowd – when there’s only your parents at the tournament. I’ll just go back to my – I guess – my home.”
The Wimbledon Championships for this year became the biggest casualty in the tennis calendar this season because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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But as the ATP and WTA announced a revised calendar for the remainder of the season – which starts in August – the US Open, is the first big attraction, scheduled from August 31 to September 13.
What is normally the year’s last major will this time be followed by the delayed French Open which will be held from September 27, just after the Masters events in Madrid and Rome.
Unlike Roland Garros however, organisers of the US Open have been firm that the event will be held behind closed doors as a precaution to the coronavirus, which has hit the state of New York the worst in the United States.
In addition to this, the US Open will limit each player to bringing just one individual along with them as opposed to their usual entourage – an aspect that did not sit well initially with the likes of world no 1 Novak Djokovic.
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Gauff however, has made clear her intentions to play at the Slam, in what will be her fourth appearance in the main draw of a major.
And despite there being no fans to cheer her on, as she puts it, she will still feel at ‘home.’