Gauff calls out her doubters, thanks them for US Open triumph: “That just put the fire in me”

Coco Gauff thanked her doubters for contributing to her first Grand Slam title, which came at the US Open on Saturday with a three-set victory over Aryna Sabalenka.

Coco Gauff, US Open 2023 Coco Gauff, US Open 2023

Anyone who rises to extreme fame at extreme speed is going to be adorned with plenty of support but also a whole host of negativity.

Coco Gauff is no exception.

Gauff burst onto the professional tennis scene — and really the entire sports scene as a whole — by reaching the Wimbledon fourth round at just 15 years old in 2019. Since then she has been one of the most popular tennis players in the world, with a legion of fans but also an army of nay-sayers.

It was the latter group — the so-called “haters” — that Gauff called out after capturing the first Grand Slam title of her career at the US Open on Saturday afternoon. The 19-year-old American defeated soon-to-be world No 1 Aryna Sabalenka 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, after which she addressed the people who doubted her during the trophy ceremony.

Thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me.

Coco Gauff

“Thank you to the people who didn’t believe in me,” Gauff said. “Like a month ago, I won a 500 title (Washington, DC) and people said I would stop at that. Two weeks ago I won a 1000 title (Cincinnati) and people were saying that was the biggest I was going to get. So three weeks later, I’m here with this trophy right now.

“I tried my best to carry this with grace and I’ve been doing my best. So, honestly, to those who thought [they] were putting water on my fire, you’re really adding gas to it. And now I’m really burning so bright right now.”

Gauff calls out Twitter trolls in press conference

But Gauff did not stop with her on-court speech. She had more to say to her doubters in the press room.

“I just felt like people were, like, ‘oh, she’s hit her peak and she’s done. It was all hype.’ I see the comments. People don’t think I see it, but I see it. I’m very aware of tennis Twitter. I know y’all’s usernames, so I know who’s talking trash.”

Was there really anything to trash talk about?

Well, Gauff was hailed as a potential future world No 1 and Grand Slam champion following her exploits at the All-England Club in 2019. Four years later — by the time Wimbledon rolled around in 2023 — Gauff still had never won a major title and had reached the quarter-finals of a slam only three times. She didn’t break into the top 10 of the WTA rankings until September of 2022. Prior to this summer she had never won a title bigger than the 250 level.

If the haters thought they were right, they could not have been more wrong. Now it’s Gauff who has the last laugh.

“I have just been embracing every positive and negative thing that’s said about me,” the soon-to-be world No 3 commented. “I realize sometimes people have different personalities and some people need to shut off the comments and not look at them. But I’m an argumentative person. I’m very stubborn. My parents know. If they tell me one thing, I like to do the other.

“Literally up until like 10 minutes before the match, I was just reading comments of people saying I wasn’t going to win today. That just put the fire in me.”

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