Brad Gilbert helped turn Coco Gauff from Wimbledon first round loser into a hugely popular US Open champion… and it took just six weeks
- Coco Gauff won the US Open as she upset second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka
- Gauff, 19, clinched a 2-6 6-3 6-2 win on a delirious Arthur Ashe Stadium
- The triumph came six weeks after the surprise coaching hire of Brad Gilbert
Six weeks after becoming a surprise coaching hire, Brad Gilbert helped turn Coco Gauff from Wimbledon first round loser into a hugely popular US Open champion.
There are faint echoes of what happened with another teenage winner of recent vintage, Emma Raducanu, who teamed up with Andrew Richardson in the summer of 2021. By mid-September she had enjoyed an extraordinary triumph at Flushing Meadows.
Except this time the greater experience already acquired by Gauff means that she is unlikely to repeat the mistake of immediately getting rid of her coach.
American legend Chris Evert was among those purring over the 19 year-old Floridian’s New York win, and she believes that it will be very much in Gauff’s favour that she has been a more gradual developer, having already been playing at the highest level since the age of fifteen.
‘I am glad Coco did not win as a younger teenager because it can be a bad thing for players. There are examples of that, look at Emma Raducanu,’ Evert told ESPN. ‘ It puts a lot of pressure on the player because they are not emotionally developed yet and they cannot handle it. Coco is now ready to win.’
Gilbert – the 62 year-old veteran brought in at the start of August to coach alongside Spaniard Pere Riba – is known as a master tactician, but has previously worked mainly in the men’s game, alongside a media career.
He wrote a seminal manual on tennis strategy entitled Winning Ugly, and his latest client initially needed to do that against Aryna Sabalenka as she battled her way through the first two error-strewn sets in Saturday’s final, before tightening up her whole game in the decider.
As Evert observed: ‘She didn’t have her A-plus game and she won her match. It is her first Major and in her own country which makes it even more special.
‘She is an extraordinary tennis player and an even more extraordinary human being. We have seen that at a young age. She has spoken out on important issues, she has a social conscience. I think her parents have done a great job.
‘They have given her space at 19 years old to get Brad Gilbert and make her own decision. That was not easy for Candi and Corey.’
Gauff, 19, clinched a 2-6 6-3 6-2 win on a delirious Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday