Coco Gauff Talks Depression Brought on by Fame, Says She Was in 'Dark Mindset'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2020

Coco Gauff of the U.S. makes a forehand return to Japan's Naomi Osaka during their third round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Lee Jin-man/Associated Press

Coco Gauff is one of the fastest-rising stars in tennis, but it wasn't long ago that she was uncertain about her future in the sport.

The 16-year-old phenom shared her story Thursday on Behind The Racquet and divulged that she had some doubts in 2017 and 2018 before officially turning pro:

"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. Even though I had, it felt like there weren't many friends there for me. When you are in that dark mindset you don't look on the bright side of things too often, which is the hardest part. I don't think it had much to do with tennis, maybe just about juggling it all."

Gauff added that she even considered taking a year away from tennis but noted that she is glad she didn't in retrospect.

"I was just lost," she wrote. "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."

Gauff turned pro in 2018 and has quickly risen up the ranks since then. She is currently the 52nd-ranked player in the world, and she made it to the fourth round of the Australian Open this year after reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon and third round of the U.S. Open in 2019.

Gauff won the Junior French Open Championship before turning pro in 2018, and it didn't take long before she made an impact in the WTA, as she won her first professional titlethe Linz Openin October 2019.

She also took down some heavy hitters en route to the fourth round of the 2020 Aussie Open, beating Venus Williams in the first round and Naomi Osaka in the third.

With so many big victories under her belt already, Gauff is viewed as the future of women's tennis and has a chance to be a multiple Grand Slam champion if she stays on her path.

Now that Gauff seems to be loving tennis and playing at a high level, she will be one of the top names to watch in the sport in the coming years.

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