New York, April 17 (IANS) Teenage tennis star Coco Gauff said that she struggled with depression just over a year before her stunning run at the 2019 Wimbledon.
Gauff said that her ability with the racquet brought the pressure of expectations. “Throughout my life, I was always the youngest to do things, which added hype that I didn’t want. It added this pressure that I needed to do well fast,” Gauff wrote on Behind the Racquet, an online platform for tennis players to tell their story in their own words.
“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 realized 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,” she said.
Gauff said she even considered taking a year off but admitted that not doing so was eventually the right choice.
“I was just lost. I was confused and overthinking if this was what I wanted or what others did. It took many moments sitting, thinking and crying. I came out of it stronger and knowing myself better than ever. Everyone asks me how I stay calm on court and I think it’s because I accepted who I am after overcoming low points in my life. Now, when I’m on court, I am just really thankful to be out there,” she said.
Gauff was 15 years old when she beat her idol Venus Williams in the first round of the 2019 Wimbledon. She was the youngest to win a main draw singles match at Wimbledon since Jennifer Capriati in 1991. Before that she was also the youngest qualifier in the tournament’s history. She continued her run and it was only in the fourth round that she was beaten by eventual champion Simona Halep.