Coco Gauff US Open win: How the teen went from fan to champion


Coco Gauff US Open win: How the teen went from fan to champion

Key Points
  • Coco Gauff has been crowned US Open champion.
  • She’s the first teen to play in the tournament’s final since 2001.
  • Gauff defeated Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka.
American tennis has crowned a new queen and US Open champion as Coco Gauff beat Aryna Sabalenka in the Flushing Meadows final to claim her first grand slam title and ascend the throne left vacant by Serena Williams.
The first teenager to play in a US Open final since Serena in 2001 there was symmetry to the moment as Gauff rallied to beat the second seeded Belarusian 2-6 6-3 6-2 and end a six-year barren stretch for American tennis fans.
“I am so happy I could make this country proud,” Gauff said.

American women have been on the rise in recent years moving into the top 10 and winning tournaments but since Serena Williams played her last match on Arthur Ashe in 2022 the US has been without a standard bearer – until now.

Who is tennis star Coco Gauff?

Gauff, who as a young girl dreamed of becoming the next Serena, is now just that – the undisputed face of US tennis with many predicting she can become the world’s top-ranked player with a trophy cabinet packed with grand slam titles.
“Congratulations to US Open champion, @CocoGauff! We couldn’t be prouder of you on and off the court – and we know the best is yet to come,” former US president Barack Obama posted on social media.
Still just 19-years-old, Gauff has matured under an unforgiving sporting spotlight.
The finished product was on display on Saturday as she defused Sabalenka’s power with speed and tenacity before acknowledging her success with grace.
“That little girl, she had the dream – but I don’t know if she fully believed it,” Gauff said.
“As you get older sometimes it can fiddle away. I would tell her, ‘Don’t lose that dream’.”

Immediately after her win, Gauff’s first reaction after lifting herself off the court and wiping away tears of joy was to search the stands for her parents, who used to bring her to New York as a young girl to watch her idols on the same court.

A woman in a tennis uniform crying and raising her racket

Gauff burst into tears as her win was sealed. Source: AAP / SIPA

The US Open this year celebrated Billie Jean King and the 50th anniversary of the fight for equal pay, with Gauff playfully acknowledging the struggle when accepting the trophy.

“Thank you Billie Jean for fighting for this,” said Gauff waving a $US3 million ($A4.7 million) winner’s cheque.
Gauff has long been tipped for greatness.
A top junior she burst onto the world scene as a 15-year-old, beating another of her idols Venus Williams at Wimbledon in 2019.

Last year she made her grand slam breakthrough, reaching the final of the French Open but losing. At this year’s Wimbledon she hit a bump with a first round loss that left her feeling the dream had ended.

Since that Wimbledon loss Gauff has won 18 of 19 matches and won the US Open, Cincinnati Open and Washington.
“Thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me,” she told a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday.
“A month ago, I won a 500 (level) title and people said I would stop at that.
“Two weeks ago, I won a 1000 title and people were saying that was the biggest it was going to get … (but) I’m here with this trophy right now.

“To those who thought they were putting water on my fire you were really adding gas to it and now I am burning so bright.”

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