A tale of two Coco’s.

We all know of the prodigious talent that is Coco Gauff. Yep, the former junior world number and youngest ever qualifier for Wimbledon in the open era. Made the last 16 at Timbledon, that Coco Gauff. The future looks as bright as you like for the 15-year-old, who has the lot. The expectations are high and big things are expected going forward and rightly so, she has shown enough to justify the hype. A bit of patience will more than likely be needed but who knows?

She is the hottest property in tennis right now and you would assume an appearance in the Evening session on the Arthur Ashe is an absolute cert. It happened on the show courts at Wimbledon, including Centre, so for all the right reasons you can see it happening in New York. The limelight is firmly on her at the moment. She is primetime. What I am about to say next has no bearing on this whatsoever, obviously, but it made me think of someone.

Whilst watching Coco Vandeweghe in San Jose a few weeks ago it struck me that many may have almost forgotten about the former world number nine. I certainly haven’t as Coco brings a hell of a lot to the tennis court with her aura, swagger and huge game. In full flow, there is no doubt that Coco Vandeweghe is primetime tv material and usually good for some banter. Seeing her tee-off can be a thing of beauty.

In 2017 she was on fire in the majors, reaching the last four at both the Aussie and US Open and the last eight at SW19. She wasn’t far away from winning a major and it looked like all she needed was a bit more experience and that extra bit of balance and consistency to her game. She then had a slight dip in form and then injured her right ankle at Wimbledon last year. She played on for the next few months but has missed the whole of this season until now. It turns out the mystery problem with the ankle was Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) which causes hypersensitivity of the nerves. She also had two stress fractures and was battling depression.

It is great to see her finally back, she won a round in San Jose, beating Marie Bouzkova (who went on to lose in the semis to Serena in Toronto last week). Coco then lost in straights to Aryna Sabalenka in the second round and then to Yafan Wang in Cincy qualies last weekend. It will take time to build that match ‘toughness’ back but I hope she gets there. I really enjoy watching her, she can just blitz opponents.

Two top players though, Coco Gauff and Coco Vandeweghe. Both will be looking for a big few weeks, with differing expectations as it stands.

Andy Del Potro

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