Serena Williams’ ex-coach tips new British Wimbledon star for ‘bright future’

Britain's Sonay Kartal returns the ball to US player Coco Gauff during their women's singles tennis match on the fifth day of the 2024 Wimbledon Championships
New British tennis star Sonay Kartal has ‘a very, very good game’ (Picture: Getty)

Serena Williams’ ex-coach Patrick Mouratoglou has tipped new British Wimbledon tennis star Sonay Kartal for a ‘bright future’ in the sport.

Mouratoglou, who spent a decade coaching the legendary Williams from 2012 to 2022, is an expert on women’s tennis has become a massive fan of Britain’s Kartal after watching her in action against American second-seed Coco Gauff.

Kartal, world No.298, sensationally beat Clara Burel at Wimbledon this year to become Britain’s first female qualifier to reach the third round since 1997, before she impressed in the first set of her defeat to a player ranked 296 places higher.

The 22-year-old was largely unknown heading into this year’s Championships but that all changed with three superb wins in qualifying before she remarkably dumped out 29th-seed Sorana Cirstea and then eliminated world No.45 Burel.

Kartal credits her rapid rise to a significant change in her physicality and Mouratoglou is hugely impressed after she burst onto the scene in SW19.

Quizzed about Kartal’s 6-4 6-0 defeat to US Open champion Gauff, Mouratoglou told ‘I didn’t see the second set. It’s probably better I didn’t see it… I am talking about the score! But I saw the first set.

‘She broke back, which was a huge effort. When you’re a break down against someone like Coco in a match like that, which she hasn’t played very often, I think she handled it really well emotionally.

Sonay Kartal of Great Britain plays a backhand against Coco Gauff
Britain’s Sonay Kartal burst onto the scene at Wimbledon this year (Picture: Getty)

‘That’s the most difficult thing when you get to this court, at Wimbledon, for the first time in your life and you are British. If you’re British there is even more pressure.

‘You’re probably scared to get killed on the court when you play someone like Coco. I think she did really well.

‘She has a good game. A very, very good game. Lots of energy, lots of intensity. I think she has a bright future.

Patrick Mouratoglou looks on during a match between Serena Williams and Venus Williams in 2020
Patrick Mouratoglou coached Serena Williams for a decade (Picture: Getty)

‘When players are very intense like she is (working hard in the gym), it is a way to build your body. You build the body with what you do every day. Some players practice with more or less intensity.

‘When you’re able to give the level of intensity like Rafael Nadal does, for example, you build your body that way. That’s probably why she is going to the gym and putting in the intensity that she is every day.’

Gauff, meanwhile, lauded Kartal after their Wimbledon battle and said: ‘She played a high level, especially in first set. It’s been a great tournament for her, especially at home and I hope she will be back for more in the future. She wasn’t giving me much to work with. She mixes up her variety and didn’t let me settle.’

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