Coco Gauff is getting comfortable with losing

After a difficult year, Coco Gauff is returning to tennis with a new mindset on losing.

Coco Gauff has had a successful start to this year. On Monday, the tennis champion defeated Anna Karolína Schmiedlováin 6-3, 6-0 during the Australian Open en route to her second consecutive Grand Slam title. 

While the 19-year-old Atlanta native is well acquainted with winning, ahead of Monday’s match, she opened up about how she has become comfortable with losing. 

Speaking with reporters on the eve of Monday’s match, Gauff — who lost both the Australian Open last year and Wimbledon in the summer — noted the pressure she used to put on herself.

“I think I put too much pressure on winning a Slam. I think I was feeling like I have to do it,” Gauff said, per People. “When I went on the scene at 15, I felt like I had to win a Slam as a teenager because that’s what everybody thought.”

She added, “Some players’ goal is to win a Grand Slam. Once they reach that, it’s kind of, what’s next?” 

After difficult losses last year, Gauff won the US Open in September, much to her surprise. She expressed that while she has always wanted to win multiple Grand Slams, after achieving her first in September, she found it was easy to “forget” about. 

She clarified, “Not ‘forget,’ I think that’s the wrong word. Maybe just put it in the past and look forward to the future instead of dwelling on the past.”

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Gauff, who has been open about her struggles with maintaining her mental health, has previously spoken about ruminating on the past, especially her losses. In a column days after her loss at the Australian Open last year, the athlete wrote, “Losing sucks, but if you can go through how you felt in the match and how you felt in certain moments, then you can come back and be better.”

She added, “This experience will motivate me to come back stronger.”

While speaking with reporters ahead of this year’s Australian Open, Gauff further explained where her head currently is regarding losing. Speaking about her first-round loss at Wimbledon last summer, Gauff said she realized, “The world didn’t end. The sun still shines. I still have my friends and family.”

She continued, “I realized that losing isn’t all that bad and that I should just focus on the battle and the process and enjoy it. I found myself being able to play freer and trust myself more.”

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