Defeats and disappointments are a part of sports. It’s how you learn, grow and rebound from them that separates the great competitors from the really good players.
On Saturday, at the Australian Open, Coco Gauff found herself in a tough spot as she was eliminated from the Grand Slam in the third round. She lost 7-6, 6-3 to 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. Despite her emotional, teary reaction to the outcome, Gauff has the professional maturity of athletes twice her age, so she’s already planning to learn from this match and move on to concentrate on the women’s doubles event.
“After every loss, I pretty much learn something—and every win too,” Gauff said in her post-match press conference, per ESPN. “Today, I learned a lot. [I’m] a little bit frustrated, but I think I’ll rewatch and see where I went wrong.”
In addition to Ostapenko playing phenomenal, lights-out tennis, Coco’s serve was not the reliable weapon it usually is, and that seemed to throw the rhythm of her whole game off. With her win at Auckland and the dominance she showed in the first two rounds, she was expected to go farther in the tournament, so this is a disappointing loss.
“I think [I’m frustrated] because I worked really hard and I felt really good coming into the tournament, and I still feel good. Like, I still feel like I’ve improved a lot,” she said. “When you play a player like her and she plays really, well, it’s like there’s nothing you can do.”
Even though the emotions and disappointment this loss caused, Coco immediately turned her attention back to the doubles. She and her partner, Jessica Pegula, are set to play Chan Hao-ching and Yang Zhaoxuan in the quarter-finals on Tuesday in Australia.
“I think doubles has taught me how to play, after losing, how to play with frustration, and that’s what I felt like today,” Gauff said. “So I feel like it will help me in the future. You know, bouncing back from a loss is difficult in a Grand Slam, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
The 2023 Australian Open airs live on the ESPN Networks with encores available on the Tennis Channel.