Coco Gauff is a strong contender for the WTA year-end finals for the second year in a row, but this time, she’s missing someone from her box in Cancun: coach Pere Riba, the former Spanish player who helped the U.S. team win its first-ever finals title.
Riba, who is no longer part of Gough’s coaching staff, took to social media on Wednesday to confirm the news of their split, citing “personal and family health reasons.”
“I want to let you know that Coco and I will not be continuing our journey in 2024,” he shared on Instagram.” However, let’s focus on the positive aspects of 2023 because it was a great year.
“We did our best to continue our partnership into next year, but unfortunately I need to take a step back due to some personal and family health reasons.”
Gough confirmed the news after the match when she beat Ons Jabeur 6-0 and 6-1 in her opening match at the WTA Finals. The 19-year-old said she wanted to build on the success the pair have achieved together — she scored her first Grand Slam victory at the U.S. Open! — but she also hinted that the decision was out of her hands.
“If it was up to me, I’d love to keep him here. But things happen, life is like that. There’s no bad blood between us,” she told the media in Cancun, adding that their split came after the Beijing Olympics.
“Sometimes people think things are more important than they actually are. Some things just don’t work out. That’s just the way it is. I still think he’s a great guy. He’s done a lot of amazing things for me personally and for my game. I’m sure his next step will be successful.
Riba joined Gough’s team in June, and the partnership finally seems to be resonating on the North American hardcourt. Gough hit milestone after milestone in the second half of the WTA season: she won her first 500 title in Washington, D.C., followed by her first 1,000 title in Cincinnati, and then her first Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open.
Before Washington, D.C., Gough also hired Gilbert as a consultant, and the pair of coaches have often been seen harping on supporting their players. The world No. 3 did not confirm whether Gilbert would continue to work full-time or if she would revert to looking for another coach.
“Coco, I want to say thank you for everything we’ve been through together during this time. It’s been really great,” Riba added.” Thank you for believing in me from the beginning and for your hard work, passion and professionalism. It has been a pleasure working with you.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you and wish you all the best in your career. Success is what you deserve.
In Cancun, third-seeded Gauff, who is now 1-1 in Chetumal after falling to Iga Swiatek 6-0 and 7-5 on Wednesday, will next face seventh-seeded Makhtar Vandrusova in singles play. In doubles, Gough will partner with Jessica Pegula against Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova.