Courtesy of Wimbeldon/Wimbeldon.com
Fifteen-year old Tennis phenom Cori Gauff talked to the media after her 3-6, 7-6, 7-5 win against Polona Hercog. Here is an excerpt:
CORI GAUFF: I know this is off topic, but I wanted to say please stream Erys by Jaden Smith. His album dropped yesterday (smiling).
- When you were match point down on Centre Court, were you thinking, what would Venus and Serena do?
CG: No. I was just thinking I need to go for my shots. I can’t play pushing. I don’t know. Really, to be honest, I kind of just went out there and just hoped the ball went in the court. I’m just happy that challenge came back as in.
- In the last point, the ball goes over your head, what was going through your head, when you see it go out?
CORI GAUFF: Well, when it was going overhead, I was like, Please go out, please. Then after when I was jumping, I was like, Wow, I can’t believe it. It’s been one long match, it’s finally over.
- What is a better thing for you, that you won today or that Jaden’s album is out?
CORI GAUFF: Both. I was super happy that his album came out because it’s been long-anticipated, at least for me.
- My real question… You had to hit a lot of slices today.
CORI GAUFF: Yes.
- You said you only just started incorporating it into your game.
CORI GAUFF: Yeah.
- How do you feel you dealt with that?
CORI GAUFF: Well, I want to thank my coach, JC, for making me do all those slice drills. He knows I hate them. But it came in handy today.
Also, thanks to Courtney for slicing today in my warmup because I was, like, just hit the ball.
He’s like, No, I’m slicing. Thank you.
- A lot of players who step out on the main stadium at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time will talk afterwards about being nervous, the moment maybe feeling too big. For you at any point today was there a bit of a ‘wow’ moment? Any nerves at all? What was your mindset when you were down 5-2 in the second set?
CORI GAUFF: So, when I was walking on the court, I kind of wasn’t nervous, but I was just like, Wow, I’m really on Centre Court. One of the most sacred courts in the world.
When I was down 5-2, I was just like, I can fight back. Just need to hold serve, break, then we’ll see what happens from there.
- A lot of the fans initially were quite waiting for Andy Murray and Serena Williams to come, a crowd on the hill. At the end they were standing up and cheering for you. The reaction in the stadium was fantastic.
CORI GAUFF: Yeah.
- They were expecting to see Andy and Serena, but were entertained by you.
CORI GAUFF: Well, I’m happy that they enjoyed watching me play. Even when I was down match point, the people in the crowd were behind me every step of the way. That’s something I really appreciated during the match.
I don’t know, it’s just crazy. I remember before I played Venus, as you know, when you walk to leave the practice courts, there are people waiting. One little kid asked me for a picture. Then after the next day, after I played Venus, everybody was screaming my name.
It was pretty surreal how life changes in a matter of seconds.
- Everything is coming so fast. Now you make the second week, which is amazing. Did they advise you to slow down a little bit or change? How do you see yourself, afraid of getting too excited? How do you feel?
CORI GAUFF: Well, in this moment I just feel relieved that it’s over. My parents are just telling me to stay calm, stay focused because the tournament is not over yet. That’s what I’ve been kind of celebrating the night after the matches, then the next day back to practice. Looking forward to my next round.
- It was a long match. Did you find it hard to keep up the energy you needed?
CORI GAUFF: I don’t know if it was the longest match I had ever. I wasn’t really tired. I knew I could go longer. I saw she called the physio, she started getting ice. I knew eventually she would get tired. I was kind of staying in it. I’m young, I have a lot of energy. I’m used to playing two matches a day sometimes from juniors. We have to do that.
It wasn’t too difficult.