Winning Olympic medal 'equal to Grand Slams', says Gauff

By Sports Desk May 08, 2024

Coco Gauff believes winning a medal at the forthcoming Paris Olympics would be "equal" to winning a Grand Slam.

The world number three was forced to miss the Games in Tokyo three years ago after testing positive for COVID-19, and is eager to sample the "once-in-a-lifetime experience".

The tennis events will be played on the clay of Roland Garros, where Gauff will be bidding for a second major title at the French Open later this month.

And the reigning US Open champion is looking forward to competing, though she admits her preparations will be unprecedented.

"For me, the Olympics is a top priority. I'd say equal to the Grand Slams," Gauff told reporters at the Italian Open, where she will face Magdalena Frech in the last 64.

"I wouldn't put it above or below just because I've never played before. This is my first time. Obviously, I always want to do well, try to get a medal. But the preparation is going to be interesting, because I've never done the grass to clay transition before.

"I'm not putting too much pressure on it because I really want to fully indulge in the experience. Hopefully, I can have it many times in my lifetime. I'll treat it as a once-in-a-lifetime experience."

Before that, Gauff is focused on getting ready for the French Open, where she was runner-up to world number one Iga Swiatek two years ago.

The 20-year-old will step up her preparation at the Italian Open this week, aiming to build on her run to the round of 16 at the Madrid Open last time out, where her run was ended by compatriot Madison Keys.

"For me, it's just about serving better than I did last week," she added. "I feel the other parts of my game are improving. If I can work that through, I think it'll set me up for a very good Roland Garros."

Related items

  • De Minaur to face Korda in Libema Open final after downing Humbert De Minaur to face Korda in Libema Open final after downing Humbert

    Alex de Minaur will face Sebastian Korda in the final of the Libema Open in 's-Hertogenbosch after posting a straight-sets win over Ugo Humbert in the last four.

    De Minaur – the top seed for the ATP 250 tournament in the Netherlands – needed one hour and 46 minutes to wrap up a 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 success over the world number 16, having thrown away a 4-0 first-set lead before holding his nerve in a tiebreak.

    The second set was cagey as De Minaur did not give up a single break point and converted one of two he forced, some strong serving ensuring he held off his opponent.

    He will face Korda in Sunday's final after the American ended Tallon Griekspoor's title defence at the semi-final stage earlier on Saturday, winning 6-2 6-4.

    Meanwhile, Jack Draper will face Matteo Berrettini in the final of the BOSS Open in Stuttgart, having beaten Brandon Nakashima 6-3 6-3 in the semi-finals.

    Former Wimbledon runner-up Berrettini came through an all-Italian clash with Lorenzo Musetti in just 67 minutes, winning 6-4 6-0.

    Data Debrief: New high for De Minaur

    De Minaur is into his 17th ATP Tour-level final, having an 8-8 record in his previous 16. It will be his third on grass, after beating Lorenzo Sonego in Eastbourne in 2021 and losing to Carlos Alcaraz at Queen's last year.

    The victory also ensured he will rise to eighth in the world rankings – a new career-high position.

  • Osaka crashes out of Libema Open, De Minaur through to semi-finals Osaka crashes out of Libema Open, De Minaur through to semi-finals

    Naomi Osaka crashed out of the Libema Open despite fighting to a tie-break in the final set, with Bianca Andreescu progressing to the semi-finals after a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3) win.

    Osaka's match was interrupted by rain early on with her in the lead, but Andreescu came back out in top form to take the first set.

    The Japanese raced through the second though, taking a 5-0 lead before holding off Andreescu's fightback to go into a decider.

    Despite an impressive comeback to force a tie-break in the final set, Osaka became sloppy, with her mistakes contributing to the Canadian's path into the semi-final, where she will face Dalma Galfi.

    Elsewhere, Alex de Minaur is through to the semi-finals after a comfortable straight-sets victory over Milos Raonic.

    Despite a long break due to bad weather, the Australian eased into the next round with a 7-5, 6-2 victory on Friday.

    He will face either Ugo Humbert or Gijs Brouwer in the next round.

    Data Debrief: Osaka not close enough, De Minaur in cruise control

    Despite winning more points (98 compared to 94), and winning more games (16 to 15), Osaka could not hold her nerve in the tie-break to reach the semi-finals.

    Competing as the top seed for the first time in his tour-level career, De Minaur felt no pressure as he rallied in the second set to ensure Raonic would not find a way back into the match, winning his last five games in a row on his way to victory. 

  • Federer hopes Djokovic, Nadal and Murray 'can keep playing forever' Federer hopes Djokovic, Nadal and Murray 'can keep playing forever'

    Roger Federer expressed his hopes for former rivals Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray to "keep playing forever", insisting the ATP Tour is "better with them".

    Federer called time on his glittering career in 2022, while the other three - who between them formed tennis' 'big four' - appear not to be far away from joining him in retirement.

    Nadal, who will miss Wimbledon to focus on his "last Olympics", and Murray are expected to hang up their racquets this year, with the latter revealing in February that he does not "plan on playing much past this summer".

    Meanwhile, 24-time major winner Djokovic is also likely be absent from the grass-court major, having undergone knee surgery following his withdrawal from the French Open last week. 

    Now in their late 30s, all three players are certainly at the twilight of their remarkable careers.

    But Federer, who says the quartet all now "get on super well" after years of rivalry, hopes they are not finished just yet.

    "I really don't think there are any words of advice that I can give him," he told BBC Sport. "Retirement is so deeply personal. When you take that decision, everybody is in a completely different circumstance.

    "We've gone through similar things, but I'm too far away to give advice. If [Andy] called me up, I'd be happy to answer some questions. He's had this massive hip issue and what he is doing is inspirational.

    "I hope Andy, like Rafa and Novak, can keep playing forever, like a fan. The tour is better with them. I was watching Roland-Garros last week, and I was like: 'Wow, they're so good - I used to do that too!'

    "It's tricky sometimes and there’s definitely moments when you don't like a certain opponent, but then you like him so much. It's important to remember this as a player - it is just tennis and, in the end, we can be normal.

    "You see us being super friendly with each other after the rivalry, and we get on super well."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.