Coco Gauff won the 2023 US Open, marking her career’s first Grand Slam victory. After the match, she praised Venus and Serena Williams for paving the road through their struggles for other black tennis players.
On Saturday, September 9, under the lights of the prestigious Arthur Ashe Stadium, 19-year-old Gauff became the youngest player after Serena Williams to win the US Open. Serena won her maiden Major at Flushing Meadows in 1999 when she was 17.
In the title clash, Gauff knocked out Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 in a three-set dramatic showdown. After losing the first set, the American bounced back with resilience and determination to win the next two and denied the Belarusian her second Grand Slam title.
In a press conference, Coco Gauff credited the Williams sisters’ hardships and heroics as black tennis players for her own triumph.
“Yes, it’s crazy. I mean, they’re the reason why I have this trophy today, to be honest. They have allowed me to believe in this dream, you know, growing up. You know, there wasn’t too many just Black tennis players dominating the sport. It was literally, at that time when I was younger, it was just them that I can remember”, Gauff said.
“Obviously, more came because of their legacy. So it made the dream more believable. But all the things that they had to go through, they made it easier for someone like me to do this”, she added.
Coco Gauff was over the moon to have her name on the same list of US Open winners as the Williams sisters.
“I mean, you look back at the history with Indian Wells, with Serena, all she had to go through, Venus fighting for equal pay. Yeah, it’s just, like, it’s crazy and it’s an honor to be in that kind of lineup as them. And I’m looking at it, and she’s won this a lot of times. (laughter.)”, she stated.
Coco Gauff believes she has a lot of endurance
Coco Gauff’s upbringing in South Florida aided her quest to become a pro and now a Grand Slam champion. In a press conference after the 2023 US Open final, she said that heat was never a problem for her, but rather an advantage.
“Oh, yeah, the endurance is there. I can last as long as anybody in the women’s side of the tournament. Probably even maybe some of the men (smiling). Yeah, the heat means nothing to me. I was a little bit, like, the roof was closed because I knew it was raining. I kind of wanted it to be hot. You can’t have everything”, she said.
Referring to her quarterfinal match against Jelena Ostapenko, where she sent the Latvian packing 6-0, 6-2, Gauff mentioned that the extremely hot weather that day favored her.
“Yeah, it definitely helped me I think against my Caroline Wozniacki match, against Andreeva and against Ostapenko. That was crucial. Especially against the quarters I think. I don’t even remember what round that was. I think that was the quarters. Especially in that match, it helped a lot because it was smoking hot that day. So South Florida has helped me a lot prepare for these moments”, Coco Gauff added.