Coco Gauff seldom looks ahead in the draw, but concedes she’s fueled by fans who do.
The 17-year-old Gauff faces dangerous Hsieh Su-Wei in her Cincinnati opener with the winner moving into a second-round showdown vs. second-seeded Naomi Osaka.
Gauff said it fires her up when fans anticipate her squaring off against elite players like world No. 1 Ash Barty or four-time major winner Osaka because it means people are interested in watching her play.
“Obviously, I know when I play bigger players like [Naomi], Ash, anybody who is top 10, I know there’s going to be more attraction around it,” Gauff told the media in Cincinnati. “I’m not going to deny it. I know if I get there, people will be watching.
“I mean, it definitely fuels me a little bit more, I will say that, because the more people talk about you, the more you kind of feel good about yourself that people care to watch you play tennis.”
Fresh off a run to the Montreal quarterfinals, the 24th-ranked Gauff has split two prior meetings against Osaka, winning their last encounter at the 2020 Australian Open.
“It doesn’t make me nervous,” Gauff said of potentially playing Osaka. “Those are the moments that I guess make or break you. It will be interesting if it happens.”
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