PARIS — It is easy to be in a rush when you reach the fourth round of Wimbledon at age 15, beating one of your idols, Venus Williams, in your opening match. It is easy to be in a hurry when the sponsors and the platform are already in place, and you have been hearing from experts and the voice inside your own head that you have what it takes to be a champion.
But tennis is a trickier game than most: a blend of the physical, the technical and the psychological with so much time to think between points and serves and so many tournaments, time changes and defeats to navigate.
Coco Gauff, even if she is only 18, has had to be more patient than she planned. But the young American’s potential and performances under pressure are beginning to converge. On Saturday, she will play in her first Grand Slam singles final, facing the No. 1 seed, Iga Swiatek, at the French Open for the title and the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen.
“There’s a fine line between believing in yourself and almost pushing yourself too much,” Gauff said on Thursday after her semifinal victory, 6-3, 6-1, over Martina Trevisan, sounding, as usual, rather older than her years.