A Cori ‘Coco’ Gauff the youngest women tennis association (WTA) ranked (No.49) tennis player as confessed that rapid rise and hype led to her depression.
“Throughout my life I was always the youngest to do things, which added hype that I didn’t want,” Gauff wrote in a post for Behind The Racquet. “It added this pressure that I needed to do well fast.
“Right before Wimbledon, going back to around 2017-18, 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 realised 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.”
Gauff said she felt friendless because of her “dark mindset” and considered taking a year off just to focus on life. “Choosing not to obviously was the right choice but I was close to not going in that direction,” she said.
“I was just lost. 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 has been touted as a long-term successor to Serena Williams at the top of US women’s tennis. She said she was getting used to people viewing her as a role model but she did not like being compared to Serena or her sister Venus.
“First, I am not at their level yet. I always feel like it’s not fair to the Williams sisters to be compared to someone who is just coming up. It just doesn’t feel right yet, I still look at them as my idols.
“Of course I hope to get to where they are but they are the two women that set the pathway for myself, which is why I can never be them. I would never have even thought about joining tennis, without them a part of it, since there were very few African Americans in the sport.”