Corey Gauff, the father and coach of teen sensation Coco Gauff sought to clear the air over his daughter’s recent comments about her mental struggles, which he says were misconstrued. The 16-year-old said he was feeling depressed but her father clarified that the choice of words was wrong and she was not actually been diagnosed with depression.
In a post for Behind The Racquet, a tennis publication that details the stories of struggle players away from the court, Coco Gauff spoke about dealing with pressure and motivation.
“I just found myself not enjoying what I loved. I realised 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,” she wrote.
This sentence was seen as indicative of bigger mental issues, which teen prodigies in tennis have often had to deal with it, and her father said he was alarmed because he know that word would be taken out of context.
“That’s the thing that was alarming, and I knew that was going to be the word that got picked up,” Corey Gauff told The New York Times. “She was never clinically depressed, never diagnosed with depression, never seen anybody about depression.
“There’s no medicine going on. This is a kid’s personal pressure that they put on themselves and how they deal with it and how they mature,” he added.
Tennis player Noah Rubin, the publisher of Behind the Racquet, also apologised for his role in the issue.
Rubin interviewed Gauff by telephone before writing the post and had sent her a copy of the post to approve. But he admitted an error in judgement.
“It’s completely my fault that I didn’t go deeper into what she meant by depressed. I feel she was definitely sad and lost and questioning tennis at periods in the past. We spoke for about 30 minutes, and she sounded very honest. But the word ‘depression’ is a trigger word, and people start questioning things,’ he was quoted as saying by the same New York Times article.
The 16-year-old American became immensely popular after reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2019, which was her first appearance in a Grand Slam. Gauff followed that up with a run to the round of 16 in this year’s Australian Open as well. These performances helped her become the first 15-year-old in 15 years to break into the top 50 of the world rankings.