Atlanta’s Coco Gauff Wins U.S. Open’s Big Prize

Atlanta’s own professional tennis player Coco Gauff once danced in the aisles at age 8 at a tennis match.

Fast forward 11 years later to today, September 9, 2023. That same person earned herself a tennis championship and a place in the hearts of sports fans locally and worldwide.

By defeating her opponent Aryna Sabalenka, she claimed the U.S. Open Women’s Singles Title. The first teenager at 19 to win the award since a17-year-old Serena Williams, who has won five titles in her storied career.

And Gauff is well on her way to building a legendary reign on the tennis court of her own.

Gauff started the first of three sets losing to Sabalenka 2-6, but she would rally and take both remaining sets 6-3 and 6-2. Her fight to win was so compelling that even college football-focused viewers checked in to see her win the title. After the serve that would confirm her victory, Gauff collapsed on the court in tearful jubilant emotion.

Social media proclaimed her arrival as America’s newest tennis champ.

Gauff, in a post match interview with ESPN’s Mary Joe Fernandez, said it was tough trying to get her goove back after the 2022 French Open loss, but winning today was sweet vindication.

“Oh my goodness, it means so much to me,” she said. “I feel like I’m a little bit in shock in this moment.” Last years loss was a setback, “But I realized God put you through tribulations and trials and that makes this moment even sweeter than I could have imagined.”

Gauff then stated that critics who said Gauff would do no better than her 500 and 1000 titles fueled her drive to win the top prize.

“I want to thank the people who didn’t believe in me,” she said. “I’ve tried my best to carry this with grace and I’ve been doing my best. So honestly , tho those who thought they were putting water on my fire, you were really adding gas to it.”

Gauff credits the Williams Sisters for inspiring her to go for the championship.

“I mean, they’re the reason why I have this trophy today, to be honest,” she said. “They have allowed me to believe in this dream. Growing up, there weren’t too many Black tennis players dominating the sport. It was literally, at that time when I was younger, it was just them that I can remember.”

Image credit: Coco Gauff. (2023, September 10). In Wikipedia.