US Open 2019: ‘Coco’ chants made me feel like Golden State, says Gauff
A thriller with Timea Babos had the US Open crowd firmly behind Coco Gauff, making her feel like the Golden State Warriors.
Coco Gauff felt like she was the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the NBA Finals when she heard her named chanted by the Louis Armstrong crowd in Thursday’s US Open second-round win over Timea Babos.
Teenage sensation Gauff was again responsible for a thrilling contest at Flushing Meadows, where the 15-year-old American outlasted Babos 6-2 4-6 6-4.
Gauff prevailed after a frenetic two hours, 23 minutes, during which the vociferous crowd frequently led ‘Coco’ chants as she set up a clash with defending champion and world number one Naomi Osaka.
Gauff conceded she was taken aback by the level of support received, telling a media conference: “For me it’s still wild. This is the first time — well, not the first time. The first round was the first time I actually had a chant, but today it was a lot louder and a little more consistent.
“I was thinking like maybe they feel like I’m Golden State in Game 7 or something. It’s different because you’re an individual player, so it’s weird, I guess.
“Most of the time you hear the chants, it’s for a whole team, not just for, like, me. So it was pretty cool.”
Gauff saw her friend and doubles partner Caty McNally take a set off Serena Williams on Wednesday, while Taylor Townsend headlined Thursday’s results with a stunning comeback against fourth seed Simona Halep.
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) August 30, 2019
Asked if she and McNally are inspiring each other now, Gauff replied: “Yeah, for sure. I remember in Midland she won her first pro title. I lost second round that tournament. She kind of inspired me, like, okay, it’s possible to do well, I think, just in general, not just me and Caty but all the young Americans.
“I saw Taylor won today. I think we’re all just kind of pushing each other. Obviously when we play against each other, we don’t want the other person to win. But literally when we’re playing someone else, we root for each other.”
Gauff plays doubles with McNally on Friday and feels that match may aid her preparations for two-time grand slam champion Osaka.
“For me, doubles isn’t a problem. I mean, juniors, I played doubles a lot of the times, almost every tournament if I can get into doubles, I’m playing it,” said Gauff.
“To me it helps because it’s a different game. I guess you get to work on volleys, you get to work on your returns a lot in doubles.
“I think that’s actually going to prepare me for Naomi, because doubles to me is more faster paced than singles. Naomi actually hits the ball pretty hard. I think it will prepare me well for Saturday’s match.”