Coco Gauff US Open 2022

Coco Gauff claims Rafael Nadal’s legacy is ‘unmatched’ as she expresses admiration

Coco Gauff has expressed admiration for Rafael Nadal’s mentality and intensity, claiming that the Spaniard’s aura is unparalleled in the game. 

Both Gauff and Nadal are set to take to court in Rome this week in the WTA and ATP1000 events.

And while the American is competing in just the fifth Italian Open of her career, Nadal, a ten-time champion, is making his final appearance at the Foro Italico – a complex synonymous with his name.

Speaking in a pre-tournament press conference, the 20-year-old hailed the legacy that Nadal has forged throughout his career and particularly in Rome.

“Honestly, he’s probably the only player that when I practice on the court next to him, I would literally zone out of my practice to watch him,” said Gauff.

“I’ve practiced against – not against – but next to some incredible players on tour, and he’s the only one that my eye wonders to.

“No disrespect to other players, but it’s something about him and his aura and the intensity in which he does everything. It’s just something to me as a young player to look up to.”

Nadal is competing in his farewell season on tour and, even though the final tournament he plays in is not yet known, Gauff was full of praise for the Spaniard’s legacy.

“His mentality and intensity is something I admire, and also the grace he shows,” said the WTA world No.3. “He’s a very nice person. I think it’s little things like that that I’ll miss seeing on tour. The way he carries himself is just great.

“His legacy is going to be something that is almost, like, unmatched when it comes to just the intensity in which he approaches everything. I think that’s something that the players will miss and the fans will miss.”

Can Coco Gauff take the title in Rome? 

World No.3 Gauff has registered a slightly underwhelming start to the European clay swing thus far.

The American fell at the quarter-final stage of the Stuttgart Open and in the round-of-16 to compatriot Madison Keys in Madrid.

Though Gauff is aware she is capable of a good run in the Italian capital, having reached the last four back in 2021. But she has since been unable to break past the third round.

She has, however, received a favourable draw this time around and, if she can muster up the tennis that she is capable of, could cause some damage to the rest of the field.

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Jerome Coombe, Tennishead Writer, discovered his love for tennis journalism whilst studying languages and playing competitive tennis. He has a vast knowledge of tennis and strives to shed a light on all corners of the sport.