(Reuters) - Coco Vandeweghe feels the biggest misconception about her is that she is arrogant but the outspoken American is not letting that get in the way of her quest for a maiden grand slam title at the Australian Open.
The twice grand slam semi-finalist, known for her aggressive playing style and bold personality, will get her next shot at that elusive title in the Jan. 15-28 Australian Open.
“I don’t find myself to be arrogant when I’m around people or even walking around, but I seem to get called arrogant a bunch. And that I don’t understand,” world number 10 Vandeweghe told ESPN on Thursday.
“It doesn’t make me feel great. But at the end of the day, I’ve never been big about what people say about me or let it really affect me. ... When I was 13 or 14, it bothered me when people made fun of me, like any person. But I know who I am.”
Vandeweghe, who reached the Australian Open and U.S. Open semis in 2017, started working with Australian coach Pat Cash last June and credits the former Wimbledon champion with helping change her attitude.
After Vandeweghe lost in the Wimbledon quarter-finals Cash convinced her to stick around while others achieved her goal, and now the 26-year-old American is hoping that trick will pay dividends in Melbourne.
“I usually leave on the next flight out after I lose at a grand slam,” Vandeweghe said.
“But he kept me around. It was almost like him pouring salt in the wound. He kept me around there, and I was still practising, and I was seeing all these people win, and I could still hear the crowd and see the stadium. I stayed until the finals.
“Looking back on it, I could say it was (motivation), but in the moment, I was like, ‘I hate every second I’m here’. He kind of likes to play Jedi mind tricks on me.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue, editing by Ed Osmond