"If Rafael Nadal cried, I would've cried... It just sucks" - Coco Gauff opens up on emotional response to Spaniard's potential swansong at French Open

Coco Gauff (L) and Rafael Nadal (R)
Coco Gauff (left) and Rafael Nadal

Coco Gauff has opened up about her emotional response to Rafael Nadal's heartbreaking exit from the 2024 French Open. The Spaniard bowed out of the claycourt Major in the first round, in what was likely his final appearance at the event.

Nadal took on fourth seed Alexander Zverev in his opening match at the French Open, with the duo putting on a show before Zverev claimed a 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-3 victory in three hours and six minutes to oust the Spaniard.

The highly anticipated matchup was a draw for fans and players alike, with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Iga Swiatek, Stan Wawrinka, Caroline Garcia and Alize Cornet in attendance to witness the 14-time French Open champion's potential swansong.

Coco Gauff was unable to join her fellow players at Court Philippe-Chatrier, as her own first-round match against Julia Avdeeva coincided with Rafael Nadal's. The World No. 3 kicked off her campaign with a dominant 6-1, 6-1 win over the Russian, booking her place in the second round.

Gauff wrapped up her victory in just 52 minutes, allowing her to catch the conclusion of the Spaniard's match. In a post-match interview with the Tennis Channel, the American expressed relief that Rafael Nadal didn't break down in tears, as that would have likely caused her to cry as well.

Nevertheless, the 20-year-old admitted to experiencing a wave of emotions, sharing that it was devastating to witness the former World No. 1 bow out in the first round, given his historic dominance at the claycourt major throughout her lifetime.

"I was watching it in the press room, but like an office and we were just watching the speech. Luckily, he didn't cry because I think if he cried, I would've cried," she said.
"I was getting a little bit emotional because it's literally all I've ever known my whole life is him winning here so it just sucks to see," she added.

"I need to get one picture with Rafael Nadal before I don't see him again" - Coco Gauff

Coco Gauff poses with the Spaniard alongside Dylan Dreyer, Serena Williams and Venus Williams
Coco Gauff poses with the Spaniard alongside Dylan Dreyer, Serena Williams and Venus Williams

Despite her disappointment at Rafael Nadal's emotional exit from the 2024 French Open, Coco Gauff also chose to look on the bright side, expressing delight over the Spaniard's intention to take part in the upcoming Paris Olympics.

With Gauff also set to compete at the prestigious global sporting event, she humorously remarked on the possibility of getting a picture clicked with the 22-time Grand Slam champion.

"I'm also happy that he confirmed he's going to do the Olympics, I'll be there so I need to get like one picture with him before I don't see him again," she said.

Although Nadal's Roland Garros campaign has ended, Coco Gauff will continue her bid for a second Grand Slam title against Tamara Zidansek in the second round.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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