Coco Gauff has revealed that tucking into a fruit salad between sets is the ‘secret weapon’ behind her success as she made the semi-finals of the Australian Open. The American starlet defeated Ukraine’s Marta Kostyuk in a hard-fought contest to book her place in the last four.
The 19-year-old’s maiden Grand Slam triumph at the most recent US Open appears to have boosted her confidence as she kept her nerve to prevail against the World No. 37. After winning the first set, Gauff saw her opponent raise her game as she took the second, before Gauff finished off the job in the third set to win, 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (4-7), 6-2.
Her mental durability was clear as she fought back from 5-1 down in the opening set, while making 51 unforced errors across what turned into a tricky clash Down Under. In a match in which she hit only 17 winners, however, the teenager demonstrated that she can grind out results even when she is not performing at her best.
Buoyed by the momentum she had coming into the tournament following her heroics at Flushing Meadows last year, she is now aiming to become the first women’s singles star since Naomi Osaka to win successive majors. Now, she has reflected on some of the less pronounced ways that she has continued her rich vein of form into 2024.
The subject of her snacks between sets has not gone unnoticed by eagle-eyed fans and journalists alike, leading to some intrigue as to when she picked up this habit. One reporter asked her: “The fruit salad you like to have on the change of ends, is that something you’ve always done?”
The one-time Grand Slam victor soon revealed that this has been a mainstay in her routine on court ever since she was a child coming through the ranks in her chosen sport. She confirmed: “Yeah. Growing up when I trained at academies my mom packed coolers for me so I could be able to practice all day. It consisted of fruit, apple sauce and Gatorade. Why change something that always works?
“I know a lot of people like gels and fancy stuff. But I just like the natural fruit,” she admitted, before revealing some of the dietary secrets behind her success. “I never really get tired even after a long match. So it’s been working. Fruit and Pedialyte is the secret weapon.”
Despite her diet giving her a boost throughout the match, it was clear that the American favorite was not performing at her very best at points versus Kostyuk. Still, Gauff believes that the grit and determination she showed in the last eight will stand her in good stead.
“I think it was definitely a ‘C’ game – I didn’t play my best tennis but really proud that I was able to get through the match,” she said as she reflected on reaching the semi-finals at Melbourne Park for a first time. “Hopefully I got the bad match out of the way and I can play even better.”
Speaking on her need for resilience to make it past her most recent opponent, Gauff admitted: I was just trying to get one more game in the first set, make it competitive and then one game turned into another. In the second, I gave myself opportunities but became a little bit passive and when I came out in the third I was just trying to play aggressive and hit through the court.”