BERLIN — Whether it’s UNO games with her family or a reading challenge with her boyfriend, Coco Gauff’s competitive streak is as wholesome as it is unquenchable.

While Gauff was biding time over the weekend ahead of the ecotrans Ladies Open, she posted the progress of mid-year progress on her reading challenge. The World No.2 has already torn through 12 books, ranging from autobiographies and dystopian fantasies to Japanese and American fiction.

“[The reading challenge] started because I loved reading as a kid and I kind of lost it when I got older,” Gauff told reporters at media day. “So at first my goal was to read 12 books, one per month. Then my boyfriend has this thing where he reads the amount of books as the year we’re in, so 24 in 2024, 23 in 2023.

“So when he said he was going to read 24, I got super competitive and I doubled my goal to match his and I like trying to finish faster than him,” she said. “I’m two books ahead, so I’m winning right now.”

Coco’s Reading List:

  • “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • “Daisy Jones & The Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
  • “Seven Days in June” by Tia Williams
  • “After Dark” by Haruki Murakami
  • “This is Amiko, Do You Copy?” by Natsuko Imamura
  • “Fourth Wing (The Empyrean, #1)” by Rebecca Yarros
  • “Blue Hour” by Tiffany Clarke Harrison
  • “Riot Baby” by Tochi Onyebuchi
  • “Finding Me” by Viola Davis
  • “If He Had Been With Me” by Laura Nowlin
  • “Iron Flame (The Empyrean, #2)” by Rebecca Yarros

As Gauff begins her grass season, an active reading list could be the ideal solution to the myriad weather delays that can impact this five-week swing.

Berlin: Draws | Schedule | Scores

Grass is a surface that holds bittersweet memories for Gauff. She made her Hologic WTA Tour debut five years ago at Wimbledon as a 15-year-old qualifier and proceeded to defeat her idol, Venus Williams, in the first round before making the Round of 16. She returned to that stage the following year, but a first-round exit last year left her reeling.

Gauff responded to that loss the way great champions do. She lost only four matches for the rest of the season, picking up her first WTA 500 title (Washington D.C.), WTA 1000 (Cincinnati) and Grand Slam New York).

Gauff is the top seed this week in Berlin, where she was a semifinalist two years ago. After a first-round bye she will face Ekaterina Alexandrova, who began her grass season last week with a run to the semifinals at ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

“Last year I didn’t do so well, so there’s nothing to lose,” Gauff said. “I’m really happy to be back on grass.”

It will be Gauff’s last few weeks before the stakes get real for the American. She is set to represent Team USA at the Paris 2024 Olympics before embarking on the back half of the season in which she will have the daunting task to defend two big titles.

“The calendar is full, but it’s just a sacrifice I’m willing to make,” Gauff said, referring to the Olympics. She qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 but was unable to attend after contracting COVID-19.

“I know I have a lot to defend in the hard-court season, but there’s experiences that you ask yourself if it’s worth sacrificing for and for me, this is one of those times that I’m willing to.”


Leave a Reply