Appearing in her first Grand Slam final, she’ll be the youngest American woman to reach the championship round since a 17-year-old Serena Williams won the U.S. Open in 1999.
In Thursday's semifinals at Roland Garros, Gauff defeated Martina Trevisan, 6-3, 6-1 and will face No. 1 Iga Swiatek for the championship on Saturday.
Gauff spoke about her mental preparation in an interview after the match.
"I'm in a mindset now like: 'It doesn't matter.' I mean, I'm going to be happy, regardless. My parents are going to love me, regardless. So I'm just going to go into it like another match,'' the 18th-seeded Gauff said. "I mean, yeah, it's a Grand Slam final, but there are so many things going on in the world right now, and especially in the U.S., a lot of stuff is happening right now, so I think it's not important to stress over a tennis match.''
Paying tribute to the victims who lost their lives in mass shootings recently, Gauff wrote in marker on a courtside TV camera: "Peace. End gun violence.'' Although she didn’t plan to write the message, she said "it just felt right at that moment," especially after waking up to the news of a mass shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"I think that this is a problem, you know, in other parts of the world, but especially in America it's a problem that's, frankly, been happening over some years but obviously now it's getting more attention,” she said. "But for me, it's been an issue for years.”
"For me, it's kind of close to home. I had some friends that were a part of the Parkland shooting back in—I don't remember which year,” she continued. "I remember watching that whole experience like pretty much first-hand, seeing and having friends go through that whole experience. Luckily they were able to make it out of it. I just think it's crazy, I think I was maybe 14 or 13 when that happened, and still, nothing has changed."
After her incredible performance on Thursday, she was at a loss for words to capture how she felt at the moment.
“I'm a little bit in shock right now,'' Gauff said. "I didn't know how to react at the end of the match. I have no words to describe how I feel.''
Despite feeling anxious before the match, Gauff composed herself and is now on her way to compete in one of the biggest matches in her young career.
"Honestly, I wasn't nervous going in today. I haven't been nervous at all, which is a surprise,'' Gauff said. "The only time I get a little nervous is maybe in the morning. I go for a walk in the morning so that kind of clears my head, and after that, I feel great.''
If Gauff wins the French Open, she’ll become the first American woman to win since Serena Williams won the French Open in 2015; and she'll be the second American woman to win a major since 2017.