'It took many moments sitting, thinking and crying': Coco Gauff reveals struggle with depression and extreme pressure

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Apr 16, 2020, 02:39 PM(IST)

Coco Gauff of the United States. Photograph:( Reuters )

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American teenager Coco Gauff on Thursday revealed that she struggled with depression, for around a year, amid the extreme hype surrounding her and the mental pressure brought on by her rapid rise in the world of tennis. 

American teenager Coco Gauff on Thursday revealed that she struggled with depression, for around a year, amid the extreme hype surrounding her and the mental pressure brought on by her rapid rise in the world of tennis. Gauff said that she had to rediscover herself and her love for the game after suffering from depression for almost a year.

The 16-year-old has taken the tennis world by storm due to her talent and sheer athleticism on the court. Gauff had enjoyed a splendid run since July 2019 when she qualified to the fourth round of Wimbledon in what was her first-ever major championship appearance. 

Continuing her blistering rise in the tennis world, Gauff also reached the fourth round of Australian Open, on her debut, while breaking into the top 50 in the WTA rankings as she became the first 15-year-old old to achieve the feat in 15 years. 

“Throughout my life, I was always the youngest to do things, which added hype that I didn’t want,” Gauff wrote in a post for Behind The Racquet.

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“It added this pressure that I needed to do well fast.

“Right before Wimbledon, going back to around 2017/18, I was struggling to figure out if this was really what I wanted. I always had the results so that wasn’t the issue, I just found myself not enjoying what I loved.

“I realised I needed to start playing for myself and not other people. For about a year I was really depressed. That was the toughest year for me so far.”

“Choosing not to obviously was the right choice but I was close to not going in that direction. I was just lost,” she said. “I was confused and overthinking if this was what I wanted or what others did.

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“It took many moments sitting, thinking and crying. I came out of it stronger and knowing myself better than ever.”

Gauff has been hailed as a long-term successor to legend Serena Williams. Gauff stated that while she is getting used to being a role model for people, she doesn’t like being compared to Serena or her sister Venus.

Gauff said it is not fair to compare her with the Williams sister as she still looks at them as her idols. 

“First, I am not at their level yet. I always feel like it’s not fair to the Williams sisters to be compared to someone who is just coming up,” she added.

“It just doesn’t feel right yet, I still look at them as my idols.

“Of course I hope to get to where they are but they are the two women that set the pathway for myself, which is why I can never be them.

“I would never have even thought about joining tennis, without them a part of it, since there were very few African Americans in the sport.”

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