Olympian Justin Gatlin says the entire world wanted Coco Gauff to win the US Open title

Gauff won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open 2023.


Olympian Justin Gatlin says the entire world wanted Coco Gauff to win the US Open title

Justin Gatlin and Coco Gauff (via IMAGO)

19-year-old Coco Gauff created history on Saturday as she came back from a set down to become the first American teenager to win the country’s major tennis tournament since Serena Williams in 1999. The 6th seed defeated the newly crowned No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to clinch her first Grand Slam title. With the win, she also became the first American to win a US Open singles title since Sloane Stephens in 2017.

Before the tournament, many touted the teen as one of the favorites for the US Open title. She headed into the US Open on the back of a successful North American hard-court swing. Gauff won the Washington Open last month, beating Maria Sakkari in the final. It was her first WTA 500 singles title. The American followed it up with her first WTA 1000 title at the Cincinnati Masters. Indicative of her consistency, the American has followed it up with her biggest title to date, the US Open 2023.

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Gauff enjoyed strong crowd support at her home Grand Slam. Sabalenka was not able to keep the partisan crowd silent even when she was leading the game by a set. Retired American Olympics sprinter Justin Gatlin felt that the whole world was rooting for the American teen. Speaking on the ‘Ready Set Go’ podcast, Gatlin said, “You have those moments where the world is rooting for one particular athlete, and it sucks for the other athlete that’s playing for the same championship. And that’s what I felt while watching Coco play in the finals. Everybody and their mama was cheering for Coco, they wanted Coco to win and rightfully so”

Gatlin would’ve been familiar with how Sabalenka felt when he faced the formidable Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. Bolt enjoyed overwhelming crowd support wherever he played. Gatlin won the gold medal in the 100 meters at the 2004 Olympics. He finished behind Bolt in the 2016 Olympic 100-meter final. “She played a great game, even when she was down. You see the look on her face and she rallied back with so much intensity and so much concentration and focus,” Gatlin added.

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Andy Roddick predicts more Grand Slam wins for Coco Gauff

Former World No.1 and 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick feels that Coco Gauff won’t stop at one Grand Slam title. In a column for ‘Betway’, Roddick wrote, “There are dominant forces in women’s tennis, but I don’t think three players are going to win 66 of the next however many Slams, so there’s a much better runway for her.”

roddick and gauff
Andy Roddick and Coco Gauff (Credit: USTA)

Many tennis experts predicted the so-called Big-3 of WTA tennis (Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina) to dominate the Grand Slams for years to come. But, the last 2 Grand Slams have proved otherwise. Marketa Vondrousova became the first unseeded women’s player to win a Grand Slam when she won the Wimbledon title. Roddick feels the fact that there were 4 different Grand Slam winners this year brings parity to the game.

“There are dominant forces in women’s tennis, but I don’t think three players are going to win 66 of the next however many Slams, so there’s a much better runway for her. It seems to be building towards men’s tennis in the ’80s, where you had a bunch of players with the potential to win a handful, rather than everything resting on one or two people,” he added.

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