“I mean, I’m never going to be perfect, because you’re always going to lose matches. It’s impossible to win all of them.”
On Saturday, Sep. 9, 19-year-old Cori Dionne “Coco” Gauff won the annual U.S. Open Tennis Championship in Queens, New York, making history with her achievement as the youngest player to win the fourth and final Grand Slam tournament. Since she became a professional tennis player in 2018, Gauff has racked up many wins in her career, including eight double titles and six Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour singles titles. With such a momentous start, Gauff could even take the place of her idol: world–renowned tennis player Serena Williams. The reason I say this is because although both Williams sisters are internationally-acclaimed in the world of tennis, both of them have already spent a year in retirement now.
Therefore, I think that with Gauff’s own raw talent, she could start up a newer era of tennis stars, just by her own motivation in following her idol’s steps. The sport of tennis could even evolve into something more, with Gauff leading the way to the sport’s evolution by utilizing the legacy left behind by Serena and Venus Williams, considering how the two have withdrawn themselves from playing the sport entirely.
“In tennis, we are very deserving of equal play.”
Although not said as a part of the game, this quote refers to Gauff’s first round of the U.S. Open tournament against Laura Siegemund from Germany, bringing around a difficult start for Gauff. Much tension was flowing onto the court as the match’s three sets were becoming increasingly complicated. Although Gauff was essentially going by the rules of the sport, Siegemund was being extremely frustrating all throughout the game by retorting that she was never ready when Gauff served. In many instances, she also went over her serving time whenever it was her turn. In the third set, however, although being three points ahead, Gauff had enough of her opponent’s behavior and the injustice from the chair umpire, so she stormed up and protested for herself.
“She’s never ready when I have to serve. She went over the clock like 4 times. You gave her a time violation once. How is this fair? You’re calling the score after the point is over,” Gauff said.
Unfortunately, the chair umpire didn’t listen and kept rebutting and withholding Gauff’s protests, causing Gauff to turn away and continue with the game. Despite the setbacks, Gauff managed to win the round. She basically deserved to win it, as shown by her dedication throughout the match. I do find it ironic that despite Siegemund’s advantage, she still lost and cried about it.
“If activists don’t disrupt these games, the climate will.”
In Gauff’s semi-final game against Czech player Karolina Muchova, 4 climate change protestors stood up in the middle of it and began chanting for the end of the use of fossil fuels, causing it to be delayed by 49 minutes–security even had to personally escort the people out! Meanwhile, the two players decided to make use of their time by practicing, ensuring that they would be more ready than ever by the time the game resumed. After a terrific match, Gauff managed to win yet again.
I love the fact that she respected the reason why the protestors did what they could despite disrupting her performance mid-game. Surprisingly enough, when she was asked about the delay, she replied with this:
“Would I prefer it not to happen in my match? 100% yeah,” Gauff shared in the BBC article featuring the event. “But hey, if that’s what they felt they needed to do to get their voices heard, I can’t really get upset at it.”
Considering Gauff’s dedication, her ability to focus on her side of the game, and her respect for her opponent–shown in her matches and her multiple wins–she might as well have a chance to take her idol’s record of 23 Grand Slam singles titles—maybe even go on to overtake that position. Perhaps new tennis stars could follow what she did and act as the modern generation of monumental tennis players. As Gauff stated, being an inspiration for people–on and off the court–is something that I know for sure would make her a good leader.
“It means so much to me when someone tells me they picked up a tennis racket because of me or that they tried something new because of me.”