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Italian Open: Coco Gauff Reveals How Serena Williams’ Learnings Inspired Her to Fix an Important Aspect of Her Game

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Coco Gauff entered into a surprising slump as the clay swing began. In Stuttgart, she lost in her second appearance with a round of 16 exit in the Madrid Open. The American player needed to work on her game, and she did, taking inspiration from her idol. Gauff copied a particular part of Serena Williams’ training routine, which helped her enter the quarterfinal in the Italian Open.

Gauff beat Paula Badosa, who recently started improving, in the 16, 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 round. While there are still some signs of trouble in her game, she has vastly improved her return on serves, as she converted 50% of receiving points against Badosa. In the post-match presser, she talked about how she improved her returns. “I think for me, it was just realizing that not everything needs to be a return winner. Also I did shorten my swings on the returns. I think just reps, honestly. That helps a lot, too.“

Due to the Queen of the Court, returning became a prominent aspect of her routine. “Yeah, I think it came with just reps. I would spend a lot of time returning. One thing I learned from Serena, she would spend probably like an hour sometimes literally just hitting returns.”

Furthermore, she changed from where she returned her service. “Also I kind of adjust where I stand sometimes . Sometimes I stand inside, sometimes I stand back. Depends on the server. Usually obviously bigger servers, you stand back.”

While Gauff has worked well on her returns, she still needs to overcome many aspects of her game if she wants to retain her spot in the top 5. Despite her victory, her performance against Badosa was nothing to write home about.

Fans lambast Coco Gauff for ‘playing like sh*t‘ against Paula Badosa
Serve has been a big issue for Gauff in the last few months. In Italy, she hit 9 double faults in her first match and 15 in the second match. Against Badosa, she hit an astounding 11 double faults and landed only 37% of first serves. Her serve was not her strongest aspect, but it has worsened recently. Fans took to ‘X’ to flame the American sensation about her terrible serve.

One fan called her the worst to win a major as she couldn’t serve properly and had a weak forehand. Another user said Gauff will petition the WTA, asking only for returns. Frustrated with her, one fan said they weren’t even shocked by a double fault from her.

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