Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Corey Gauff Talks Coaching at UTR All-Access; Covid-19 Player Relief Fund Coming Soon

Corey and Coco Gauff after Coco won 2018 US Open Girls Doubles Title
Coco Gauff's father and coach Corey was featured on UTR's All-Access webinar today, discussing with host Prakash Amritraj how he and his wife Candi have handled the early and sustained success of their daughter Coco, now 16.

Gauff mentioned the sports background of both he and his wife as a key factor in understanding the steps that were necessary, yet it was also clear that he had been able to apply some of the management skills he had acquired when he was in the corporate world.

One answer that directly addressed junior tennis came when Amritraj asked Gauff what he thought of on-court coaching.

"I am a fan of it. I'm ok with not having it at the grand slams, but they should really push it down to the junior level, especially 12 and unders and 14 and unders. To me, that's really when you need to give the feedback, training them not just to be good tennis players, but training them to be good competitors. A lot of time when they're juniors, you've got to tell them a lot of times to stop cheating, quit throwing your racquet, quit whining. All this stuff, I believe in really, whether it's coaching or even teaching, at the moment that it happens is the best time to correct the behavior, as opposed to waiting and seeing. What can happen sometimes, is the kid can act like a jerk, then win the match and the parents just forget all about the jerk part because they had the outcome that they wanted. It's important to coach them through being the jerk part and that would help junior tennis. It would probably help better athletes stay in the sport longer."

A question submitted by a viewer asked if there was anything Gauff would have done differently if he could go back in time elicited this response:

"I don't know, you know I think we were fortunate to make some good choices from a technical standpoint. I think little things we didn't pay attention to--I found myself when she was 14, 15, reminding her to split step and that could have been emphasized a lot more at a younger age, I just didn't, because I figured you'd pick that up naturally. I think understanding how to play doubles at a younger age could have probably helped develop skills, volley skills, a little earlier, but she ended up becoming a pretty good doubles player, but I think we could have possibly done that along the way. I think maybe we would have looked at moving to Florida (from Atlanta) a little bit later; we didn't have to come as early as we did, which would have helped make her even more well rounded at an early age. We didn't know that and we were doing what we thought was the right thing. You're going to make good and bad decisions along the way, just don't wait too long to change them if you think it's the wrong decision, because there is no one way to do this."

Another submitted question asked what one quality would he consider most important to turn pro.

"To me, you've got to be driven and you've got to be competitive. If you're competitive, and you love competing, you're going to find the way to do the work that's required to be successful. You've got to want it more than anything."

Gauff talked about when they realized Coco might be exceptional, when she no longer was considering college, why they limited her schedule in the juniors and didn't travel much, among many other topics. The 45-minute webinar will be available on the UTR All-Access site, as are all the previous webinars the past several weeks.  Wednesday's webinar features Vasek Pospisil of Canada, with Ivan Lendl and Jez Green on tap for Thursday, with all webinars in the series at 2 p.m. Pacific time.

The ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slams are working on a plan to distributed at least six million dollars to lower ranked WTA and ATP players during this lengthy hiatus caused by the global pandemic. The details have not yet been released, but here is the statement:

The international governing bodies of world tennis (the ITF, ATP, WTA, Tennis Australia, the Federation Francaise de Tennis, All England Club and United States Tennis Association) have issued the following statement regarding a COVID-19 Player Relief Programme:

With so much uncertainty around when it will be safe to restart the professional tennis tours, the international governing bodies of world tennis can confirm they are in discussions to create a Player Relief Programme to provide much-needed assistance to the players who are particularly affected during this time of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

These discussions have been progressing well and details are being finalised with an announcement expected in the near future. Already agreed is that the ATP and the WTA will administer the Player Relief Programme and all seven stakeholders will make a significant contribution.

The health and safety of everyone involved in tennis is the absolute priority for all the governing bodies, and the tennis community has been unwavering in playing its part in limiting the spread of the infection.

This is particularly true of our players, with so many engaging their fans through messages of hope while reiterating the importance of staying safe at home, as well as demonstrating creative ways to stay fit and practice our sport to be ready for when the time comes that play can begin again.

We know that for our players, as well as for so many people worldwide, there is the need for financial support for those who need it most and we look forward to finalizing and sharing the further details of a plan in due course.

What this program might look like, chiefly what players would be eligible and how much would they receive, is not known at the moment, but Chris Clarey at the New York Times and Russell Fuller at the BBC have additional thoughts on the possibilities.


Jon King said...

Wow, talk about ignoring the ginormous elephant in the room! CoCo Gauff opened up to Noah Rubin at Behind the Racquet. She admitted to being depressed, said she was not sure she wanted to not just be a normal teen. She wanted to go to prom this year before it was cancelled, etc. Her father immediately got a hold of Rubin and went off. For the first time ever, Behind the Racquet CHANGED the post. Rubin removed "depression" and some other changes and of course has to play the party line as the Gauff's have powerful tennis sponsors.

Her father called a NY Times reporter and said she really did not mean her first post. The next day her father goes on a PR campaign on UTR. Anyone who read the original post and knows CoCo is as mature and savvy with the press as any 30 year old, knows she was honest the first time. She sounds like a person who is not that motivated to being 'the greatest ever' like she and father used to say. CoCo went out of her way to say on Behind the Racquet not to compare her to the Williams sisters anymore. Said she has not accomplished anything yet. She never shied away from those comparisons before and in fact at a younger age her and her father said she would be better than Serena. Things have changed, whether dad wants to admit it or not. This is a player who wants to be very good but fit in, not someone who wants to be laser focused on a sport to be the best ever.

It is also public knowledge with any google search that her grandmother filed a lawsuit suing Mr. Gauff for taking her money she invested in the sports bar in Delray Beach. Mother suing her own son, so we know who we are dealing with.

Now lets talk tennis. They asked coach dad about her main technical issue and he said split step? Seriously? Her forehand grip is too western for the women's game, thats why the other players started picking on her forehand once the scouting report got out. Going forward, the top players will wear out CoCo's forehand the entire match and getting past the first week of majors will be much tougher than it was pre-scouting report. Hard to win Grand Slams when the forehand is neutral at best and certainly not a weapon.

Tennisforlife said...

Jon. The Behind the Racquet Instagram post still references her depression. Seems unchanged to me. Not sure if you are referring to edits made in some other forum.

Jon King said...

It was taken down for a bit on Behind the Racquet, and now its back. The walk back by Rubin is laid out in the NY Times piece by Christopher Clarey. In it, dad Gauff and Rubin scramble to unring the bell and classify it as sadness, non medical, etc. Anyone with a teenager knows depression when they see it. When a teen girl expresses her feelings then later her father and another adult like Rubin try to reclassify it...all bad. Listen to the young lady, she meant what she said and notice she has not been made available to comment any further.

tennisislife said...

A parent ignoring or dismissing any adolescent feelings of depression is a disaster waiting to happen. There are many bad outcomes. Rubin should not be enabling such behavior. If the kid is shut down from talking about her feeling the ending will be a bad one.

pipe down said...

@Jon, 1) I believe the UTR webinar was already scheduled before the Behind the Racquet Post was put up so it's a stretch to call that a PR campaign

2) Do you really expect her father and coach to simply say "oh yeah her forehand is awful, I wish we had fixed that earlier"? While I agree her grip is not ideal, it has been Coco's grit and fight that wins her matches along with her other weapons like speed, her serve at times, her backhand etc. Caroline Wozniacki had a very sketchy forehand and still spent dozens of weeks at #1 and eventually won a slam

3) Someone, anyone, especially a teen, can use the word "depressed" and not mean that they were clinically depressed. Whether it was burn out, sadness, pressure, doubt... I don't think a single tennis player is unfamiliar with these feelings at some point in their lives (regardless of how early they were successful or in the limelight) as they pursue the incredibly difficult life of a pro tennis player

4) Coco's parents did not dismiss her feelings, they acknowledged them and clarified. At the end of the day Coco is a minor and her parents are going to make sure what she says or does is not twisted or taken out of context. You don't have to agree with it or like it.

5) What does a legal suit between her father and his mother that I'm sure nobody outside their family knows the true details about have anything to do with HER tennis?

Boca Tennis Mom said...

I was very impressed to read how Co Co expressed her experiences on Behind the Racquet. She clearly explains how she struggled in the past and continues to deal with the pressure. She really says it all when she said she had been planning to attend a prom this year. That shows she put effort into it. With all the fame and fortune the past year, for her to be that interested in such a normal activity says she is really struggling to decide whether she wants fame or normalcy. I have kids her age and when they talk like she did in her post, there is always much more beneath the surface.

I am very disturbed that 2 men would then step in and attempt to explain it away. In the NY Times article Noah Rubin and her father tap dance all over the place to diminish her feelings. What they said afterwards and what CoCo said in her original statement sound very different. When a teenager is sad, they say sad, they do not use the word depressed instead.

Good Luck said...

When I read the story about Coco Gauff on Rubin's Broken Racquet posts, I knew the S*** was going to Hit the Fan with her Father. We all wish Coco the best, but remember Mr Gauff..."Less is more"

Boca Tennis Mom said...

pipedown, I have teenagers and have taught teen girls for 15 years. They just do not use the word depressed, ever, unless they mean it. They do not say depressed if they mean sadness like Noah Rubin said the next day. They do not use the word depressed and the next day a parent clarifies that they were not "diagnosed as medically depressed". The teen girls I have taught that were world class gymnasts, spelling bee champions, and a brilliant 15 year old who was an intern at a biotech company, they do not even know what a prom is, they are different than "normal" girls and embrace it. CoCo went out of her way to focus that she wanted to go to a prom.

This is best left to those of us with experience dealing with teen girls. They speak a very specific language. Reading the entire post by CoCo, then reading both Rubin and her father's clarification sends super loud alarm bells ringing to those with experience in these matters.

Mrs. Anderson said...

Come on, mother's do not sue their sons and father of their grandchildren without cause. Fathers do not contradict their daughter's Instagram posts in the NY Times. What the father said to the reporter did not sound like supporting what his daughter said in her post, he was attempting to change what she said. All we have is bits of evidence, a very involved sports parent of a girl making lots of money, being sued by his own mother over a matter of money, and contradicting his own daughter when she wrote about her feelings. It certainly raises some eyebrows.

Mother Stewart said...

Lets use actual quotes from both parties.

CoCo Gauff quote "I realized I needed to start playing for myself and not other people. For about a year I was really depressed."

Her father “She was never clinically depressed, never diagnosed with depression, never seen anybody about depression. There’s no medicine going on”

I have 2 kids of my own, and 11 nieces and nephews. That is about as big a dismissal of feelings as you will ever see. She also said she was playing for other people and not herself, hmmm, wonder what she means by that.

Silence is Golden said...

“ USTA warns players 'no Bryan brothers chest bumps' when tennis returns.” now is a great time to change a few other issues... hindrance issues. As Nick B said a view hrs ago, the players were trained with the extended groan , but as soon as these players leave the tour, we can start training the players differently. Well, the time has come. If the USTA announces no more cheat bumping, now is the time to say the extended groan,( Sharapova, Serena, eastern block countries, etc) will become extinct. It has always been a hindrance for the players and the Fans! I always muted the TV during certain matches. So bring back the gentlemen and ladies etiquette and get rid of the unneeded extended groans and the lengthy time on the serves. No better time than the present, since the world of “Tennis” is silent at the moment. Man! That is a sweet sound...