in the game as in the attitude, Cori Gauff’s maturity lesson

At age 19, “Coco” Gauff almost looked like a principal on Suzanne-Lenglen’s court on Saturday, June 3, compared to her third-round opponent, Mirra Andreeva, three years her junior. The American was already playing her fifth Roland-Garros when the Russian, outside of qualifying, made her first main-draw appearance at a Grand Slam tournament. At 16, on 143And worldwide – another 312And less than two months ago – it even had its baptism on a large field, so far relegated to the annexes.

The “shock of youth” lasted only one set: the sixth player in the world showed the gap that still separates the two players, sending back to her dear studies the new nugget of the women’s circuit, defeated in three sets (6-7, 6 -1, 6-1). But the maturity lesson given by the American wasn’t just sporting, it was also attitude. Throughout the match, the serenity displayed by Gauff, even when she gave up in the first set, contrasted with the apparent nervousness of Andreeva, who came very close to being sent back to the locker room earlier.

On a missed second set point in the deciding game, the Russian sent a ball of anger into the front rows of the Lenglen crowd. A gesture that could have – should have? – cost him his elimination, but the chair umpire was lenient with the teenager, who got away with a warning, before snatching the set from him. He didn’t get a second when he threw his racket to the ground early in the second set, in a fresh fit of frustration.

“With great power comes great responsibility”

Since his arrival in Paris, the prodigy who has been training in France since the beginning of 2022 in the academy of Jean-René Lisnard (ex 84And world championship), in Cannes, had so far shown a disarming maturity: five matches (three of which qualifying) without losing even a set. By her own admission, Frenchwoman Diane Parry had been “walk on it throughout the game”, in her second round match against the junior world number one on Thursday (6-1, 6-2). “Everything is mature about her, her mindset, her demeanor, her game, she’s extremely solid,” then said the 20-year-old right on the one-handed backhand.

On Saturday, the Russian finally showed all the way she still has to go to be as exemplary as Cori Gauff, a model in this field. Following her May 30 first-round victory over Spain’s Rebeka Masarova, the American cited Spiderman as her favorite hero.

“His motto is: ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ What are your powers and responsibilities?”, asked a reporter after his second round. ” For the powers that be, on the field, I would say my mentality, it’s something I’ve had since I was very young.” she answered. “For the responsibilities… To do my best on the pitch? Outside, I’m quite aware of my place in sports and the media and don’t take it for granted. And it is because I consider my position to be privileged that I feel a responsibility to make my voice heard on all these causes.completed the young woman, particularly committed against racism and police violence after the death of George Floyd.

Unhappy finalist last year against the Polish Iga Swiatek, Cori Gauff has long brooded on this match where it never existed (6-1, 6-3). “For a week or two, I told myself I couldn’t do worse, it poured out on Tuesday. I am the first to criticize myself. I had to learn to talk about myself more positively and I continue to work on it today. Now I force myself to stop hitting myself every time I lose. »

Read also: At Roland-Garros, Iga Swiatek extends her reign

Patrick Mouratoglou and his two foals

On Saturday, against Andreeva, she held a master class on the subject, never panicking the three times she conceded face-to-face at the start of the match, even serving at 5-4 by winning the first set, which her younger sister snatched on the wire in the tiebreaker. Every time she got out of a delicate situation, the American woman clenched her fist ” Come on ” furious when her opponent seemed to throw in the towel as Gauff broke her early in the second set. The eldest was resourceful until the end, raising her level of play as the match went on.

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In his box, Patrick Mouratoglou, who advised her during these two weeks, undoubtedly said that her presence in the box was no stranger to the reversal of the brand. The former mentor of Serena Williams rushed from Philippe-Chatrier’s field just after the match of his second colt, the Danish Holger Rune, who qualified in eighth place after the victory against the Argentine Genaro Alberto Olivieri (6-4, 6-1, 6-3).

When asked at a press conference about her opponent’s guilty act towards the audience, Gauff didn’t shoot red balls at Andreeva: “Of course you shouldn’t be swinging a ball in the direction of the crowd, but you may not remember, I broke a racket on the court here in my quarter-final loss in 2021. I don’t blame her for her age tennis is a frustrating sport, it’s just the act of an athlete who gets frustrated, it happens. » In Gauff, youth does not preclude wisdom.