ASB Classic: Champion Coco Gauff pledges to return for 2024 title defence, despite weather chaos

American Coco Gauff promises to return to Auckland to defend her newly won ASB Classic crown next year, despite a chaotic rain-plagued run to the crown.

The teenage top seed - one of the game's most promising talents - swept aside Spanish qualifier Rebeka Masarova 6-1 6-1 in a match that finished almost five hours after its scheduled start, as showers intervened yet again.

In fact, weather probably proved more formidable than any human obstacle, with Gauff's opponents failing to win a set all week.

Coco Gauff in action at ASB Classic
Coco Gauff in action at ASB Classic. Photo credit: Photosport

Switching to indoor courts and playing without spectators proved too arduous for others, but the 18-year-old insists the constant on-off nature of play won't keep her away next year.

"Definitely, the weather is not really a reason for me to say no to coming back," she said. "That's part of Mother Nature, but we still got it done and on the same day we were supposed to.

"It was honestly long. I was feeling a little bit tired, not like sleepy tired, but it's been a long week of rain delays and waiting.

"I'm the type of person that, no matter what, I'll always wake up at the same time. Now, with all the adrenalin, I would say that second time we warmed up, I felt a little bit bit tired, but once you start the match, there's no other feeling.

"It's impossible to feel dead, especially in a final."  

Gauff has special reason to return, if only to see her name eventually listed as tournament winner alongside her longtime idol, 2020 champion Serena Williams.

"It's pretty cool having your name next to your idol," she said. "It’s going to be there forever and that’s crazy really. 

"I'm really happy about that and glad I was able to follow it up. I know my name’s not on it yet, but I’m going to take a picture of it, to savour it, and hopefully next year, I’ll see my name on it and take another picture, and be like 'I'm here!'"

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