STUTTGART, Germany — Coco Gauff has added former coach Jean-Cristophe Faurel to her team ahead of the upcoming clay-court season. The World No.3 first worked with the Frenchman when she was 14, and he was in her coaching box during her remarkable Wimbledon debut in 2019.

Gauff and Faurel ended their partnership at the end of 2020 on good terms.

“It actually wasn’t either of our choices to stop working together,” Gauff told reporters on Tuesday at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. “He was having visa issues and couldn’t get into the U.S. for a long time, a couple years.”

“So once he got that all figured out and it became a perfect opportunity and the timing worked to be back together, I knew when we had stopped I always wanted to go back to him when all of that stuff got sorted.”

Faurel started the season working with Mirra Andreeva. This week, Andreeva announced a trial with 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez.

Faurel rejoins the team alongside Brad Gilbert.

“It’s nice to have someone on my team that knows me since I was young and knows me well,” Gauff said. “So I’m really, really excited to have him back on the team.

“Yeah, it’s good. I’m glad that the government let us be together again,” she said with a laugh.

The clay-court season has been a fruitful one for Gauff historically, and she’s hoping to tap into that success once again. Her first Grand Slam final came on the clay at Roland Garros, where she was also a junior champion at 14. While Americans have historically balked on the dirt, Gauff’s brand of athletic counter-punching has excelled.

“For the clay court season this year, I’m really optimistic,” Gauff said. “Obviously the goal is to win French Open, but that’s every season of any top player. Your goals should be to try to win the big tournament.

“But I’m not looking at French Open right now. I’m focused on Stuttgart. I want to try to win Madrid or Rome or here. The last time I won a clay-court title was a couple years ago if I’m not mistaken, so I kind of just want to get a recent clay title under my belt. So any of the ones along the next couple weeks would be nice.”

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Gauff began the year with a successful defense of her Auckland title and posted her best Australian Open result by making the semifinal. Through the first four WTA 1000 tournaments of the year, Gauff posted one semifinal result in Indian Wells. She bowed out in the opening round in Doha (l. Siniakova), quarterfinals in Dubai (l. Kalinskaya) and Round of 16 in Miami (l. Garcia).

Seeded No.3 in Stuttgart, Gauff will open her tournament against fellow American Sachia Vickery on Wednesday.

“I’m always feeling confident about myself,” Gauff said. “Especially after US Open, I can be a contender. Semifinal in Australia, losing to Aryna who ended up winning.

“I feel like I’m definitely a contender in all the tournaments, and it just comes down to the crunch-time moments and who can perform better.”


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