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Gauff goes from fan to champ at U.S. Open

Jimmy Myers
Gauff goes from fan to champ at U.S. Open
Coco Gauff. PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Coco Gauff won the U.S. Open women’s singles championship on the same court where her parents brought her to see the Williams sisters play as a child. It was her first major tennis title.

The 19-year-old tennis sensation, the sixth-seeded woman in the tournament, rallied from one set down to defeat number-two seed Aryna Sabalenka (2-6, 6-3, 6-2), becoming the second-youngest player to win the prestigious Grand Slam Tennis event behind Serena Williams, who captured the 1999 title at the tender age of 17.

Gauff’s resilience was again on display as she roared back from losing the opening set. It was the third time Gauff pulled off this feat in this tournament. The match was intense from start to finish, with Sabalenka having to take a medical timeout in the middle of the third set, down 4 games to 1. She broke Gauff’s serve in the next game, but after breaking the Belarussian’s serve again at 2-5, Gauff served out the match.

The down notes of her spectacular win came in her post-match comments. She displayed her youth and immaturity by first pointing out that her father was crying, something she had never seen from the man who was instrumental in her rise to tennis fame.

He is always so hard that I could not believe that he is actually crying,” Gauff said. She continued to press the point despite her father giving her the hand signal to stop. Note to Gauff: Your father’s tears were tears of joy for you, which should not be exposed to the world. 

Gauff then went on to attack her critics, saying: “Tried my best to carry this with grace, and I’ve been doing my best, so honestly, to those who thought they were putting water in my fire: You were really adding gas to it, and now it’s really burning so bright right now.”

Second note to Gauff : These comments were uncalled for. You allowed your critics a moment to gain ground on your highest achievement to date. Take some advice from former first lady Michelle Obama: Never stoop down to the level of small-minded people. Make them rise to a higher level.

This criticism is in no way an attempt to bring down Gauff from her victory podium. It is advice to help her in the future — a future that looks exceptionally bright.

To end this thought on a bright note, I’ll use Gauff ’s words: “It’s still crazy. I keep telling myself, ‘You’re a Grand Slam Champion.’ It still doesn’t seem real at all.”

Believe it, Coco Gauff: This is real.

On the men’s side of the net: Second-seeded Novak Djokovic swept past number three seed Daniil Medvedev in straight sets (6-3,7-6,6-3) for his 24th Grand Slam Tennis title, tying Margaret Court for the top spot on the all-time winners list. His victory came 50 years to the day after Court won her 24th major tennis title.

Following his fourth U.S. Open championship, Djokovic displayed enormous class by unveiling a “MAMBA FOREVER” T-shirt, honoring the memory of the late Kobe Bryant, the former NBA star who had befriended him many years ago.

“This shirt is to honor the memory of my dear friend Kobe Bryant. His number was 24. I felt it was fitting to honor his memory in winning my 24th Grand Slam Tennis title,” Djokovic said. It was a classy move by the 36-year-old, who becomes the oldest man to win the U.S. Open Title.