Coco Gauff admitted to being star-struck during her visit to TwitchCon over the weekend. The 18-year-old American is set to play her first tournament as a member of the Top 10 this week at the San Diego Open, but she couldn't resist the urge to pop over to the San Diego Convention Center for the live-streaming convention, which brings together the biggest streamers and content creators on Twitch for a three-day gathering with fans.
"It was better than what I thought it would be," Gauff told reporters ahead of the San Diego Open. "I got to see some of the people I've been watching online for years in person. I got to meet some of my favorite creators. I had a great time and I was glad I was able to go."
"A lot of people were looking at my badge and were like, 'Are you a streamer?' I said was here for a tennis tournament, but I saw this next door and was like, 'I want to go.'"
came for a tennis tournament but you might catch me going to twitch con tbh— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) October 7, 2022
That Gauff decided to hit the convention days before a tournament is more evidence she has embraced her need to have fun away from the tennis court. For Gauff, her best results have come when she's taken a more relaxed approach to her career, as evidenced by her run to the French Open final in May.
I'm more stress-free," Gauff said. "It was a big transition for me because I felt like I was surrounding my life with tennis. A year ago or even a couple of months ago there's no way I would have gone to TwitchCon before a tournament because I thought I had to solely focus my life on this.
"I realized that I have other interests and it's OK to embrace it. I started doing that in Paris, that's where it all started for me, and I found my results were much better. I realized it was the complete opposite of what I needed to do."
Gauff counts Valkyrae, Ludwig, Disguised Toast and Sykkuno as her favorite streamers. She finally got to meet Valkyrae at TwitchCon. Gauff says she's been watching "The Queen of YouTube" since she was 13.
Top 3 favorite moments I’ve ever experienced. Nicest person ever @Valkyrae ! thank you for being so sweet and spreading so much positivity in the world <3 you are such a light. pic.twitter.com/EkEmmEKrr7— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) October 9, 2022
Will we be seeing Gauff in the streamer chair anytime soon? For now she'll stick to tennis and lurking.
"I always say I'm a watcher, not a streamer," Gauff said. "I'd think I'd be good at it because I can interact with people online, but I don't have time to stream my life and I don't think I would be good at the gaming part."
As she turns her attention back to the courts at the Barnes Tennis Center, Gauff is preparing for a tough draw in San Diego. She is is scheduled to face American qualifier Robin Montgomery, with either Tokyo champion Liudmila Samsonova or Bianca Andreescu waiting in the second round. Win through to the quarterfinals and World No.1 Iga Swiatek or Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina could be waiting.
Gauff has yet to secure her qualifying spot at the WTA Finals, but she is in good position to qualify in both singles and doubles with Jessica Pegula. Gauff sits at No.4 on the Race to the WTA Finals Leaderboard, behind No.3 Pegula, and the duo are at No.5 on the Doubles Race Leaderboard.
"I definitely think this is the toughest part of the season for everyone," Gauff said. "The Grand Slams are over and you're just trying to get through the end of the season and you see the finish line. I'm just motivated to try and finish it as well as I can. I'm glad that San Diego is the start of the end."