Tennis: Relaxed Coco Gauff writes off 2023 success in preparation of ASB Classic title defence

Despite being the current ASB Classic champion, Coco Gauff is acting as if last season's victory didn't even happen.   

The women's draw begins on Monday, with the world No.3 taking on fellow American Claire Lui - who's ranked 98th.  

But after a year filled with the highest of highs and lowest of lows, Gauff knows anything can happen.   

Gauff looked at home at Stanley Street on Sunday, but despite coming back to the ASB Classic as the champion she's treating this edition like a fresh start.   

"Last season was last season," she said. "I don't really take much thought into it."   

The 19-year-old lifted the trophy after defeating Spain's Rebeka Masarova in straight sets last tournament, which started her 2023 on a high.  

But the winning feeling didn't last forever. The Atlanta-native was victim of a huge upset at Wimbledon and failed to get past the first round. 

"I reached a real low, the lowest point in my career after that match," she explained. "I think learning from that really helped push me forward."  

That push saw her claim a first Grand Slam, the US Open, just two months later. The roller-coaster ride taught Gauff to put less expectations on herself and take a step back.

So instead of focusing on defending her title in Auckland, she's taking one step at a time.   

"If I get to the end of the tournament, and I get to win back-to-back, then that's cool.  

"But I'm not looking at that."   

And with her first match of 2024 on the horizon, the ride is about to begin all over again.