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Tennis-Gauff places the Paris Olympics in the same category as Grand Slams |  WSAU News/Talk 550 AM · 99.9 FM
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Tennis-Gauff places the Paris Olympics in the same category as Grand Slams | WSAU News/Talk 550 AM · 99.9 FM

(Reuters) – Coco Gauff was denied the chance to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID and the American says winning a medal at the Paris Games would be on par for her stand with Grand Slam success this year.

The 20-year-old is eager to make her Games debut when the tennis event kicks off on July 27 at Roland Garros, the same venue where she will bid for a second Grand Slam title at the French Open, which starts later this month . .

“For me, the Olympic Games are a top priority. I would say equal to the Grand Slams,” Gauff told reporters at the Italian Open.

“I wouldn’t put it above or below just because I’ve never played before. This is my first time.

“Of course I always want to do well, try to win a medal. But the preparation will be interesting, because I have never done the transition from grass to clay before.

“I don’t put too much pressure on it because I really want to fully enjoy the experience. Hopefully I can experience it several times in my life. I consider it a unique experience.”

Gauff’s immediate focus is on preparing for the French Open, which starts on May 26, and the world number three said improving her serve could be key to clinching another Grand Slam title after the victory at last year’s US Open.

“I think for me it’s just serving better than last week, to be honest,” added Gauff, who finished second at the 2022 French Open.

“I feel like the other parts of my game are improving. If I can get through that, I think it will allow me to play a very good Roland Garros.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)