Martina Navratilova has said she would be surprised if Coco Gauff does not win another Grand Slam title next year and believes Wimbledon “makes the most sense.”
The 18-time Major singles champion feels Gauff’s net game and improved drop shot will help her on grass and pointed to Carlos Alcaraz’s influence as a factor in this.
Gauff won her maiden Grand Slam title at the 2023 US Open, where she overcame Aryna Sabalenka in a three-set final at Flushing Meadows in September.
The 19-year-old enjoyed the best spell of her career following a first round Wimbledon defeat this year, winning the WTA 500 event in Washington, the WTA 1000 tournament in Cincinnati and the US Open. This was the first time Gauff had won an event at each of these levels.
The American reached the last 16 at Wimbledon in her first two appearances at the All England Club in 2019 and 2021. She defeated Venus Williams in her first match at the grass-court Grand Slam as a 15-year-old qualifier in 2019.
ATP world No 2 Alcaraz won his second Grand Slam title with a five-set victory over Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon men’s singles final this year.
In an interview with the WTA, Navratilova backed world No 3 Gauff to add to her Major tally in 2024 and argued she is most likely to triumph at Wimbledon.
“I would be surprised if she doesn’t win another Major this year, and Wimbledon makes the most sense. I think it’s on grass because she’s better at the net than any of them and moves forward so well,” said the Czech-American.
“That and her improved drop shot. I think you’ll see that across the board next year, the [Carlos] Alcaraz influence on the sport. For me, Coco Gauff should be the favourite on grass. Particularly since by her own admission, it’s Iga [Swiatek]’s most challenging surface.”
The former world No 1 also identified three-time Grand Slam runner-up Ons Jabeur as the next WTA player who will claim their maiden Major title.
“I’m going through the rankings right now, and it’s got to be Ons. Because of the variety and everything else in her game, she’s the obvious choice,” Navratilova assessed.
“Wimbledon was a heartbreaking loss, but you know what they say: If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. My money’s on Ons, always a threat on any surface, to break through.”
Navratilova also thinks Iga Swiatek, who ended 2023 by winning the WTA Finals for the first time, is likely to secure a third straight year-end No 1 finish in 2024.
“That was Iga showing that, at her best, she is better than anybody. I mean, in difficult conditions, she just blew right through everybody. She gets into the points better and knows how to close the deal,” she said.
“I’ll be honest… a few weeks ago, based on what I was seeing, I didn’t think she’d finish 2024 at No 1 next year – I was picking Gauff. Now I think maybe Gauff will pass [Aryna] Sabalenka for No 2. But I don’t know if either one of them can get past Iga if she has a good off-season, stays healthy, stays fresh.”
READ MORE: The 15 players to finish as WTA year-end No 1 as Iga Swiatek ends second-straight year on top