Tennis News: Coco Gauff and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

  • A dinner with Coco
  • Tsonga's Nadal concern
Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

One of the few things about a professional tennis player's life that is not regimented is the kinds of questions they may be asked during a press conference. In fact, maybe the reporters get a little bored themselves with the same, "What is your reaction to your math?" question. Why not break up the monotony by asking a question a player truly has to think about?

This happened to WTA No. 3 player Coco Gauff at Indian Wells last week. The oddness was that the query came in a press conference after Gauff had played relatively poorly (especially as her serve was atrocious in the first set) in the first round against Clara Burel. In fact, because Gauff has not played her best, she likely welcomed such an oddball question.

The reporter asked Gauff who her ideal dinner date would be. The player had to think about her answer but obviously relished the opportunity to respond. Gauff chose the musical artist Rihanna.

Coco Gauff gets an odd question and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga worries about Rafael Nadal

In her answer, she said, "That’s a good question. Probably between Beyonce or Rihanna, that’s tough. I’m going to go with Rihanna, just because I would love to hear how, like, she started Fenty Beauty, because that was kind of one of the first makeup brands to provide a full shade range of foundation for all skin tones."

That is an extremely well-worded answer for a question Gauff did not expect. Thinking on her feet must be just another thing that Gauff does perfectly well.

A player who isn't perfectly well currently, however, is Rafael Nadal. He has only played in one tournament in 2024 (Brisbane International where he was forced to retire after a few matches due to another hip injury) after not playing the rest of 2023 after hurting himself in the Australian Open last January. Nadal had to withdraw from Indian Wells this month with what appears to be a back or shoulder injury.

Former top-five player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga recently commented on Nadal's future in an interview with L'Equipe. Tsonga's biggest concern wasn't that Nadal couldn't participate in the hard court tournaments at the beginning of this year as that can be a difficult surface for someone returning from injury. Instead, Tsonga was worried even on Nadal's beloved clay that the Spanish great might not hold up well physically.

Tsonga said, "The real unknown is what Rafa is capable of doing on clay...From what we’ve seen, we honestly know that he doesn’t move as well, that he’ll never perform as well as he did before. On clay today, there’s a real unknown. He had such a margin over the others. Will he be able to hold his own in a tough match today? That’s the real unknown."

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