"She’s totally a student of the game" - Martina Navratilova showers praise on Jessica Pegula ahead of the WTA Finals

martina navratilova
Jessica Pegula (L) and Martina Navratilova

Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has weighed in on World No. 3 Jessica Pegula's chances at the WTA Finals.

Pegula qualified for the season-ending tournament for the first time in her career after a stellar season, the highlight of which was winning the Guadalajara Open a week ago.

In a conversation with the WTA, Navratilova pointed out that Pegula has improved considerably, adding that playing doubles has helped the American. She also called Pegula a "student of the game."

"She played great last week, obviously. She’s grown so much. [Coach] David [Witt] has been working with her, and everything’s gotten better," Navratilova said. "She was a passive player and now she’s not your basic baseliner at all. She’s adept at the net -- I think doubles has helped her. And she’s totally a student of the game. You can see her brain working."

Navratilova praised Pegula for her mental strength as well as the firepower that she's added to her game.

"She’s been steady mentally; she doesn’t get too upset one way or another. She’s been consistent in every way. And she’s added the firepower when the opportunity’s there," she added.

"It’s been fun to watch her progress; you can see she wants it so badly" - Martina Navratilova on Coco Gauff

Martina Navratilova at the 2021 WTA Finals draw ceremony
Martina Navratilova at the 2021 WTA Finals draw ceremony

In the same interview with the WTA, Martina Navratilova turned her attention to Coco Gauff.

Navratilova said that Gauff is improving all the time, although she still has a few technical deficiencies. She added that Gauff is the fastest player on tour along with Iga Swiatek.

"Yeah, she’s been doing it one step at a time. Overall, she would be happy with where she is. There is still some technical stuff that she needs to deal with, but it’s getting better -- all of it is getting better all the time," she said. "And the coverage of the court -- she and Swiatek are the fastest players out there. They make people hit more balls than anybody else."

The 18-time Grand Slam champion opined that Gauff was getting better at constructing points and understanding the geometry of the court, adding that it's been fun watching the 18-year-old progress.

"I think she’s constructing points better, hitting the right shots more often, understanding the geometry of the court," she continued. "It’s been fun to watch her progress. You can see she wants it so badly. She’s open to learning and evolving."

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Edited by Nihal Taraporvala
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