Gauff and Bouzkova celebrate graduation with victories at Roland-Garros


PARIS — Coco Gauff celebrated her high school graduation in the best way she knows how: by winning a game. The 18-year-old American kicked off her French Open campaign with a 7-5, 6-0 win over Canadian qualifier Rebecca Marino in the first round. She will face Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck in the second round.

On Saturday night, Gauff celebrated her graduation from Florida Virtual Flex with a trip to the Eiffel Tower, posing for photos in her cap and gown with her parents.

“For me, education and my family are very important,” Gauff told reporters after her victory. “Both my parents are college graduates and my grandmothers are both teachers and I have a whole family full of teachers.

“Finishing high school was important to me. I know a lot of players on tour don’t always do it because you have tennis, but for me, tennis is what I do, but there are other interests than I have outside of tennis and certainly having knowledge about it can help me indulge in it more.”

Ranked No. 23, Gauff remains the youngest player in the Top 100. Gauff burst onto the scene at Wimbledon 2019, where she successfully qualified for her first main draw at tour level at 15 and continued his way to the knockout stages. Two years later, she made her first Slam quarter-final, which came here at Roland Garros last spring.

Gauff had understanding teachers who did not have to do more than open a newspaper or turn on the television to know that their student was not slacking off on his homework.

“For me personally, I’m more exhausted mentally than physically. [at Slams]”, Gauff said. “Like physically, I can play 20 more games. Mentally, I’m barely doing.

“So I’m very grateful to them because it could have been a lot more stressful if they weren’t so understanding, which they probably could have been more because there were a lot of weeks without submitting work. But I understood Finished.”

Now freed from schoolwork, Gauff says she will miss learning history and literature, her two favorite subjects.

“I really love writing and it’s something I love doing,” Gauff said. “History too. World War I and World War II are probably my favorite things to learn, especially traveling around the world, you can kind of see where things happened.”

What won’t she miss? Calculate numbers and do long divisions.

“My father is a mathematician,” Gauff said. “He’s like, ‘You have to be good at math.’ And I’m like, ‘Dad, look, this is just something I’m not going to do.’ There’s a calculator for a reason and there’s all these apps for a reason. If you want to figure it out on paper, you do.”

Gauff is not the only player in the draw to come fresh from an opening ceremony. Czech Marie Bouzkova left Rome to attend her university degree at Indiana University East. The 23-year-old earned her degree in business administration through the WTA’s program with IU East, which supports players who want to pursue a high school education.

“I enjoyed it very much,” Bouzkova said. “It gave me a different perspective on the world. Business is a fun subject to learn, how everything works. of photography, I did a music lesson.”

Like Gauff, Bouzkova began her post-college life in winning form, beating Anastasia Gasanova 6-2, 6-1 in the first round. She will next face No. 31 seed Elise Mertens.

Bouzkova has been looking forward to her graduation for months, even buying her gown for the ceremony last year.

“I’m really glad I made the trip,” Boukova said. “Being there with 500 other students was really nice. I also saw CiCi Bellis there. I really enjoyed it. It was also really nice to see my teachers, because I had never met them in person before, so just had a chance to talk to them a bit.

“For me, it was really special to have this stuff in my life. I think it was really important to me. Yeah, I just felt like a 100% student that day, with the dress and everything. It was just awesome.”


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