Coco Gauff opens up about the pursuit of perfectionism for Vogue: ‘Life is never ever that serious’

One of the world’s highest-paid female athlete leaves teenhood behind this month.

Coco Gauff, Vogue, Indian Wells 2024 tournament, highest paid female athlete, black professional athlete, black celebrities,
(Photo credit: Vogue)

Coco Gauff is shining in gold as Vogue’s April cover star. In addition to starring in a cover story lensed by Annie Leibovitz, Gauff also opens up about life since winning her first Grand Slam and managing her pursuit of perfectionism.

“It’s a great thing and also a bad thing,” she told the publication about her constant search for perfectionism. At times, the tennis champion has to remind herself to speak kindly to herself even when she succeeds.

“It’s not like I’m saying, ‘Good job, Coco.’ It’s like, ‘OK, why didn’t you do that sooner?” she said.

As Gauff nears her 20th birthday on March 13, she’s trying to show herself more grace and compassion.

“I’m trying to do more of, you know, accepting the good shots and giving myself as much of a compliment as I do a critique.”

Even as a self-described perfectionist, Gauff admits perfection is impossible to achieve. 

“By theory, you’re always striving for more because you’re never going to be perfect,” she explained. “The day I’ll play every match and win every point and not make any mistakes, that’s when I’ll reach perfection. Which will never happen.” 

Gauff’s new coach, Brad Gilbert, has both helped her achieve new victories and lighten up and let go of what isn’t “that serious.”

“​​He’s a great guy with a lot of knowledge, but when you meet him, he’ll say a joke out of nowhere or say something that’s funny,” she said. “You’re visibly pissed, and you’ve had a bad practice, and he’ll say something, and you’re not pissed anymore.” 

She added, “Life is never ever that serious, at least not on the tennis court. On the tennis court, it’s never ever that serious. I think I’ve just learned that from observing him.”

Gilbert came on just over a month before the US Open, which Gauff subsequently managed to win. Winning the US Open in September left Gauff with a “euphoric” feeling she suspects she’ll be chasing for the rest of her life.

“That was a feeling I’ll never be able to replicate no matter how many more matches I win,” she said. “I want to win more so I can get as close to the feeling. I told my mom—I literally said, ‘It was an addictive feeling.’ As soon as I felt that, I wanted to re-feel it again.”

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Before the 2024 season kicked off, she earned herself another victory – Gauff had some much-needed downtime with her family and boyfriend. Without disclosing her beau’s name, she said, “He’s a very nice guy. He’s in school now. He’s about to apply for music school. He wants to be an actor, and he plays the guitar. He’s not from Delray. He’s actually from Atlanta.”

She ‘fessed up that some internet sleuths may or may not have found his identity and shared it on X, formerly Twitter. “I won’t respond and confirm if it’s him or not,” she coyly said.

Next, Gauff is set to face off against Women’s Singles competitors at the Indian Wells tournament later this week. 

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