BEIJING -- A new tournament, the same Coco Gauff. The 19-year-old US Open champion would not have it any other way. Gauff is ready to get back to work as she prepares to make her debut at the China Open next week, where she will play her first tournament as a Grand Slam champion.
"Once I got home, it was pretty chill," Gauff told reporters at China Open Media Day. "I took a week off, which is the longest I've ever taken off from tennis. It was a little bit weird having nothing to do.
"Then we had a little celebration with all my friends and family could go to in Florida. After that, right back to training and back to getting back to work, which honestly, I was eager to get back. A week was a long time for me to take off."
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Beijing will kick off Gauff's first-career Asian swing. The World No.3 will follow up her Beijing debut with an appearance at the Zhengzhou Open, where she accepted a wild card. She will finish her WTA season at the WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico, where she has qualified for a second consecutive season.
Gauff says it took her only a few days to come back to earth after her run to her first major title. Gauff found herself bored and restless after she returned to Florida.
"It was honestly a little bit weird," she said, "because it was just one of the biggest things in your life, then you go home and you're back to cleaning and doing all the regular stuff that you do.
"But I'm not surprised. I know I have lots of tennis left in me. I don't want to just dwell on this. It was amazing, but it's time to move on."
Seeded No.3 in Beijing, Gauff will face Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round. It's a potentially tricky opener for Gauff. The two have split their two previous meetings. Gauff had to save match points to win a nail-biter in Dubai in 2021. Alexandrova dropped only four games to her this summer in Berlin.
Then there is the added pressure of playing as a reigning major champion. Gauff now has a target on her back. Then again, she's carried that familiar pressure of being a name to beat since she was 15.
Maybe that's why Gauff insists she feels no different going into this next phase of her career.
"I think maybe because my eagerness and my ambition is so high, I don't want to end at just one [Slam]," Gauff said.
"I don't feel any different. The first couple days I did, then once I got home, I was like, 'OK, it's back to normal.'"