Coco Gauff makes honest admission about Rafael Nadal at Madrid Masters

Gauff whitewashed Arantxa Rus in the second round.
Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Coco Gauff was ruthless in her first match at the Madrid Masters. The WTA No. 3 took on Arantxa Rus and Rus could not win a single game. Literally. Gauff won the match 6-0 6-0 in 51 minutes. The match might not even have been as close as the one-sided score would imply. The two players could not have played at all and Rus would feel better about herself.

The Dutch player's statistics were ugly. Rus had no aces but two double faults. She won 25 percent of her serve points. 25 percent. She had two winners but 15 unforced errors. Rus won a total of 18 points in 12 games.

Meanwhile, Gauff won 73 percent of her serve points, had 14 winners against 10 unforced errors, won 6 of 7 break points, and 51 total points. Rus is not a bad player, and Gauff has struggled with her serve at times in 2024, but none of that matters on Thursday. Gauff played in peak form and might have defeated anyone she played at the Madrid Masters.

Coco Gauff's admission about Rafael Nadal

Gauff might have also had some extra motivation for trying to win the match quickly. She believed the player set to follow her onto center court was why people were showing up in the stands. That player was Rafael Nadal who is still trying to find his way back into great form in order to get ready for the French Open. (Nadal easily dispatched a very nervous 16-year-old Darwin Blanch 6-1 6-0 in his first-round match in Madrid.)

Nadal has won the event in Madrid five times. He is likely the best clay court player ever - possibly Bjorn Borg has an argument but that was a different era - and, most importantly, he is a Spaniard who is one of the best overall tennis players ever and probably in the final year of his career. Spanish fans want to see their native son play before they can no longer watch him.

Gauff said honestly in her on-court post-match interview when asked about winning in only 51 minutes, "I know everyone is here to see Nadal so I was just trying to get off the court as fast as possible." Fair enough. She might be selling herself a bit short as some are there to watch her as well, but Nadal is going to be one of the most popular players at the event, undoubtedly.

Of course, the player this all worked out worst for was Rus who had to participate in Gauff dominating her on the court while people were just wanting to see Nadal. That could not have been a good feeling.

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