Todd: Vivid lights of promise and scrutiny on Coco Gauff at U.S. Open


Will the 15-year-old Coco Gauff become the following Serena Williams, a Genie Bouchard flash-in-the-pan — or the following Jennifer Capriati?

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Each time one other teen sensation comes down the pipe in ladies’s tennis, the identical title crosses my thoughts: Jennifer Capriati.

You bear in mind Capriati. First, she was a sensation. Then, she wasn’t. Then, she nearly had an entire meltdown, took 14 months off and made headlines with minor arrests for shoplifting and hashish possession earlier than she rebuilt herself right into a strong participant and received three Grand Slams.

Saturday night, we noticed the identical type of feeding frenzy that after nearly consumed Capriati (now multiplied many occasions by social media) engulf one other younger star, American Coco Gauff. Gauff turned 15 lower than six months in the past, however on the U.S. Open as at Wimbledon, she garnered as a lot media consideration as any of the celebrities of the sport, male or feminine.

Gauff’s run in New York got here to an finish Saturday when she bumped into world No. 1 Naomi Osaka on the high of her sport. Osaka received’t flip 22 till subsequent month — however the arsenal she threw at Gauff was worthy of any of the best stars of the sport. Gauff’s New York run went down below a barrage of energy and precision and her night resulted in tears, with the totally stylish Osaka consoling her.

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Jennifer Capriati returns a shot from France’s Mary Pierce at the 2004 Rogers Cup.
Jennifer Capriati returns a shot from France’s Mary Pierce on the 2004 Rogers Cup. Picture by Dave Sidaway /Dave Sidaway/The Montreal Gazett

Gauff nonetheless has some holes in her sport (she has an abysmal second serve and he or she doesn’t but possess the array of pictures that make Osaka so formidable), but when she holds collectively, she is going to win Grand Slam occasions sooner or later. She is agile, decided and, for a participant who isn’t all that massive, she possesses spectacular energy.

What impact does all the eye have on a participant so younger? On the floor, Gauff is dealing with it fantastically, on the courtroom and in interviews. She is clearly mature past her years, however her feedback are scripted to disclose little or no, so we don’t actually understand how she’s adjusting.

It could be nicely if the speaking heads would pull again just a bit on their adulation and permit the teenager time to breathe and regulate. We went via this with Genie Bouchard, who was 4 years older when she burst onto the scene on the Australian Open and Wimbledon and nonetheless was clearly not able to deal with the eye.

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Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard plays a shot during her women’s singles semifinal match against China’s Li Na at the 2014 Australian Open tennis tournament.
Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard performs a shot throughout her ladies’s singles semifinal match towards China’s Li Na on the 2014 Australian Open tennis event. Picture by WILLIAM WEST /AFP/Getty Pictures

However “wait and see” just isn’t within the tv vocabulary. It’s all in on each new face and there’s no room for perspective. I don’t suppose it is going to occur, but when Gauff implodes as Capriati did, the identical speaking heads who pumped up the hype within the first place will cluck their tongues as if all this occurred in a vacuum and surprise how it’s {that a} 15-year-old couldn’t deal with the stress.

One of many few so as to add slightly perspective Saturday was New York Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who was requested by Lindsay Davenport for his tackle what Gauff is experiencing.

“It’s laborious to think about,” Stanton mentioned. “At 15, I used to be nonetheless a sophomore in highschool. At 21, I used to be a 12 months into the majors and I used to be nonetheless a deer within the headlights when it comes to coping with all this.”

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Bianca Andreescu celebrates her win over Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday at U.S. the Open.
Bianca Andreescu celebrates her win over Caroline Wozniacki on Saturday at U.S. the Open. Picture by KENA BETANCUR /AFP/Getty Pictures

Canada, after all, has its personal teenage star in Bianca Andreescu. She turned 19 in June and is already a bona fide Grand Slam contender. On the courtroom, she tends to limp round between factors as if she simply had a toe amputated — however when it comes time to serve, Andreescu is as powerful as they arrive. Like Osaka, she has the facility, the athleticism, the array of pictures for any state of affairs.

Add the maturity. Off the courtroom, Andreescu is personable, vigorous, articulate, forthcoming. She is as a lot a star in Canada as Gauff is within the U.S. and, like Gauff and Osaka, she exudes a refreshing humility that isn’t all the time present in our tennis stars.

With a dozen different rising stars, the way forward for ladies’s tennis is as vibrant because it has ever been. However it will be helpful to recollect at this stage, 15-year-old Coco Gauff might become the following Serena Williams, the following Genie Bouchard flash-in-the-pan — or the following Jennifer Capriati.

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Effectively the decision is in — Kevin Gilmore’s resolution to fireplace Influence coach Rémi Garde and change him with Wilmer Cabrera was totally pointless. In opposition to DC United at dwelling Saturday, the Influence had been as dispirited and disorganized as they’ve ever been in a 3-0 loss to a group that was lacking suspended star Wayne Rooney.

Whether or not it was their failure to defend a set-piece on the primary and third D.C. objectives or Samuel Piette heading a aim kick towards his personal internet on the second, the Influence didn’t look remotely like a playoff group.

Don’t blame the coach. You aren’t going to come back in two-thirds of the best way via a season and utterly remake the panorama of a group within the midst of a playoff race. Garde might need discovered a manner out of the group’s spectacular stoop.

Or not. However so long as Garde was round, you possibly can blame him. Now the mess is completely on Gilmore, the group president and CEO. We want him luck.

jacktodd46@yahoo.com

twitter.com/jacktodd46

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