News April 20, 2020 at 09:00 am

Young tennis star, Coco Gauff says fame made her “depressed”

Novieku Babatunde Adeola | Staff Writer

Novieku Babatunde Adeola April 20, 2020 at 09:00 am

April 20, 2020 at 09:00 am | News

Coco Gauff Depression-Photo: Aljazeera

Rising tennis star, Coco Gauff, has disclosed that the pressures from her newfound fame in Tennis came at a price, as she struggled with her mental health.

The 16-year old, who had one of the best runs in the Grand Slam, also experienced one of the most difficult periods, she said in an article for Behind The Racquet. Considered as a growing force in Tennis, Gauff has caused some of the game’s biggest upsets.

“Throughout my life, I was always the youngest to do things, which added hype that I didn’t want,” she wrote. “It added this pressure that I needed to do well fast. Once I let that all go, that’s when I started to have the results I wanted.”

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, she made headlines last July after she made it to the fourth round of Wimbledon – despite losing to Simona Halep of Romania in the quarter-finals.

Also, prior to the suspension of all sporting activities in January as a result of the coronavirus epidemic, Gauff defeated one of her idols, Venus Williams to reach the fourth round of the Australian open – the second time she had done so.

Despite those positive moments, she admitted in the article that she nursed thoughts of taking a year off the game just to “think about her life”.

“Choosing not to obviously was the right choice but I was close to not going in that direction. I was just lost,” she stated in her piece. 

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Repost from @behindtheracquet • “Throughout my life, I was always the youngest to do things, which added hype that I didn’t want. It added this pressure that I needed to do well fast. Once I let that all go, I started to have the results I wanted. 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 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. I knew that I wanted to play tennis but didn’t know how I wanted to go about it. It went so far that I was thinking about possibly taking a year off to just focus on life. Choosing not to obviously was the right choice but I was close to not going in that direction. 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. Everyone asks me how I stay calm on court and I think it’s because I accepted who I am after overcoming low points in my life. Now, when I’m on court, I am just really thankful to be out there. Personally for me, I like playing for more than myself. One of the biggest things is to continue breaking barriers. At the same time I don’t like being compared to Serena or 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. With all their accolades I shouldn’t be put in the same group yet. 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.” @cocogauff Go to behindtheracquet.com for extended

A post shared by Coco Gauff (@cocogauff) on

“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.”

According to New York Times, Gauff’s use of the term “depressed” set off a flurry of headlines and evoked memories of earlier teen tennis phenoms, like Jennifer Capriati, who struggled with depression and the effects of fame at an early age.

Responding to her comments, her father and coach, Corey Gauff said that fame was not the problem and that depression was not the proper characterization of his daughter’s issues.

“That’s the thing that was alarming, and I knew that was going to be the word that got picked up,” said Corey, who is one of Coco’s coaches. “She was never clinically depressed, never diagnosed with depression, never seen anybody about depression,” New York Times reported.

“There’s no medicine going on,” he added. “This is a kid’s personal pressure that they put on themselves and how they deal with it and how they mature.”

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