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Call Her champion

Coco+Gauff%2C+of+the+United+States%2C+kisses+the+championship+trophy+after+defeating+Aryna+Sabalenka%2C+of+Belarus%2C+in+the+womens+singles+final+of+the+U.S.+Open+tennis+championships%2C+Saturday+in+New+York.Frank+Franklin+II+%2F+AP
Coco Gauff, of the United States, kisses the championship trophy after defeating Aryna Sabalenka, of Belarus, in the women’s singles final of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Saturday in New York.Frank Franklin II / AP

Coco Gauff former world No.1 junior won her first grand slam title at the US Open on Sep. 9, 2023. She was seeded #6 in the competition and faced Aryna Sabalenka the current world No.1 in the finals. Coco is also the youngest American woman to win the US Open since Serena William’s win in ‘99.

Coco has faced immense success since her first round loss in Wimbledon 2023. She won her career high title at the time (WTA500) in Washington DC. 2 weeks later she followed her Dc title with a MASTERS1000 win in Cincinnati. To finish off the season she won her first grand slam title at the US Open. Following her success after the north american hard court competitions, the summer of 2023 was coined “The Summer of Coco Gauff.”

Gauff’s rise to her USO title wasn’t an easy path. After her loss at Wimbledon she hired a new coach, Brad Gilbert. Brad is a former ATP pro, and former coach of Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, and Andy Murray. Coincidentally they have all won USO titles under his coaching.

Starting the competition, Coco faced Lauren Seigemund. Throughout the match Seigemund was prolonging her return position on Coco’s serve, which is an illegal tactic in tennis and will result in a time violation.

Unfortunately the chair umpire for the match, Marijana Veljovic wasn’t taking action. Coco complained to the Veljovic during the third set, but she still did not take action.

While Laura Seigemund was holding serve she began to change her serve motion. In order to sway the momentum of the match, she prolonged her ball bouncing, raising the racket, and would throw the ball multiple times before finally hitting it. Seigemund then received two time violations and had to forfeit the game.

Coco ended up winning the match and in her on-court interview she was asked to describe the match, she replied with the word “slow” while giggling. Later, Seigemund was asked about the match. She broke down in tears and complained about the constant cheering from american fans after her faults. She claimed they”had no respect for me, no respect for tennis.”

Following Gauff’s nightmare first-match, she breezed through to the semi-finals. During her match against Karolina Muchova a group of 4 protesters disrupted the match. They began protesting by just chanting “end fossil fuels” and wore shirts that relayed their message.

At first security were unable to locate the protesters. Three of the members were removed from the stadium with no further issue but while the security guards were searching for the environmental activists, one member had glued his bare feet the the stadium ground.

The whole incident wasn’t resolved until NYPD and medical personal were present to safely remove the man’s feet. The extraction extended the match by 50 minutes. The activists claim they meant no harm towards Gauff or Muchova they just wanted to spread their message to a large audience.

After Coco won the match she commented on the scene, “I always speak about preaching about what you feel and what you believe in. It was done in a peaceful way, so I can’t get too mad at it. Obviously I don’t want it to happen when I’m winning up 6-4, 1-0, and I wanted the momentum to keep going.”

Gauff advanced to the final and faced her biggest challenge, Aryna Sabalenka. Sabalenka is known for her aggressive baseline play, and killer forehand. Sabalenka had also won her first grand slam title in Australia at the beginning of the 2023 season, along with receiving her career high ranking (world No. 1) 4 days prior to the USO finals.

Although Coco dropped the first set of the match, she retaliated by closing the match 2-6, 6-3, 6,2. After winning championship point with a cross court backhand Gauff fell to the ground and had tears in her eyes. She ran to her father and team and they embraced each other. Coco claimed this was the first time sh’e ever seen her father cry.

To finish off Gauff’s incredible run her team pulled out white t-shirts with the phrase “call me Champion,” with the name Coco crossed out. It was a play on her catchphrase “Call me Coco” that she used during her rise to fame in the Juniors rankings.

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About the Contributor
Mircea Wagner, Staff Writer
Mircea loves tennis and hanging out with her friends. She's been a part of the staff since Sophmore year.
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