STUTTGART, April 17 — World number three Coco Gauff is full of optimism heading into the claycourt season as she targets a first French Open crown but the American said her immediate focus was on ending her trophy drought on the surface over the coming weeks.

Gauff last won a title on clay at the Emilia-Romagna Open in 2021, a year before losing in the Roland Garros final to Iga Swiatek.

The 20-year-old will have the chance to end that barren run in Stuttgart this week, with tournaments in Madrid and Rome also on the horizon before the second Grand Slam of the year.

“For the clay season this year, I’m really optimistic,” she told reporters ahead of her match against fellow American Sachia Vickery later on Wednesday.


“Obviously the goal is to win the French Open, but that’s every season for any top player. Your goals should be to try to win the big tournaments.

“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 ... I just want to get a recent clay title under my belt. So any of the ones along the next couple weeks would be nice.”

The US Open champion has added former coach Jean-Cristophe Faurel to her team alongside Brad Gilbert, as she looks to claim a second Grand Slam crown.


Gauff has posted good results on clay with Faurel in her corner, notably winning the 2018 Roland Garros junior title.

“It’s nice to have someone on my team that knows me since I was young and knows me well,” added Gauff, who stopped working with the Frenchman in 2020.

“So I’m really excited to have him back on the team.”

The French Open main draw will begin on May 26. Gauff reached the quarter-finals last year. — Reuters