Coco Gauff Reveals the Mentality That Has Shaped Her Tennis Career

The 20-year-old athlete has an incredible sense of determination and self-belief.
Coco Gauff
Coco Gauff / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Coco Gauff has been making a name for herself since she turned pro as a young teenager in 2018. The 2023 season brought a breakout moment for the Georgia native. In the last major of the season, the US Open, Gauff took down Aryna Sabalenka in the finals to secure her first Grand Slam tournament title. The win propelled her to her highest—and current—WTA singles ranking of No. 3 in the world.

The success she has seen since joining the pro tour is due to a lot of hard work and impressive talent—but its also due to her mindset. “I have a crazy belief system,” she admitted in a recent conversation with Baker Tilly US. “I really believe I can do everything. If you told me, ‘You can’t fly,’ I would say, ‘Just watch me.’”

With the spotlight on her, Gauff understands that “people try to place you in a box,” she said, but she’s not willing to let that determine her success. “You can make that box any shape you want,” she added.

For her, that box can take the shape of comparisons to one of her tennis idols, Serena Williams. She takes those comparisons as a compliment, but she also believes her predecessor “is simply incomparable,” she wrote in an Instagram comment on her recent post. “I just want to be me,” she stated. “I want to have my own story.”

The motto that brought her to her first Grand Slam victory and will continue to propel her to greater heights is simple: “Dream big, and let’s see what happens.”

Gauff is poised and wise beyond her years. There is no doubt that her mentality will take her far.

Martha Zaytoun


Martha Zaytoun is a Lifestyle & Trending News writer for SI Swimsuit. Before joining the team, Martha worked on the editorial board of the University of Notre Dame’s student magazine and on the editorial team at Chapel Hill, Durham and Chatham Magazines in North Carolina. When not working, Martha loves to watercolor and oil paint, run or water ski. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a huge Fighting Irish fan.