American super teen Coco Gauff has opened up on how she has been reveling on the fast courts in the ongoing Abu Dhabi Open.
After opening her Abu Dhabi campaign with a straight-set romp over 260th-ranked Norwegian Ulrikke Eikeri, Gauff was asked how she managed to adapt to the fast playing surface and windy outdoor conditions in the Saudi capital.
She said living and playing outdoors in Florida, where winds do pick from time to time, made it easier to adapt to the playing surface and conditions in Abu Dhabi.
Revealing how she got a measure of the surface, Gauff said it was essentially about adjusting to the bounce and playing in her usual aggressive vein. “Me living (in) Florida, it’s super windy (there) so I’m used to playing in weather like this,” Gauff said. On her playing tactics, the American said, “It was about adjusting to the ball and the fast serve, playing aggressive.”
Coco Gauff says hitting the ball deep into the opponent’s court was the key
The teen said that she focused on hitting the ball deep into the opponent’s half of the court, as she knew that it would create scoring chances for her. “These courts are kind of fast, so I knew if I could get the first two balls pretty deep in the court, the point will open up for me,” Gauff said.
Touted as the next big thing in American tennis, the 16-year-old sent out a warning to rivals ahead of the Australian Open with a commanding 6-0, 6-1 win over the Norwegian, who came into the tournament in place of US star Amanda Anisimova.
Though the American scored a facile win, the match was a lot closer than what the score-line would suggest.
Gauff’s opening round win is a strong statement ahead of Australian Open 2021
Gauff said her opponent played well and did create enough moments in the game to keep her guessing. “She played really well. I know the score didn’t look like it but it was a tricky match, tricky player. She had really good hands,” Gauff said.
The American added that she was stunned by some of the drop volleys that the Norwegian produced in response to her passing shots. “She hit a lot of volley winners. I have seen anyone drop-volley off some of the passes I hit. They were pretty good and she hit them like nothing,” Gauff said.
However, as was evident from the tennis that she produced on the day, the American is in good shape and is already close to hitting top form as she moves deeper into the tournament.