us open 2023

Coco Gauff Stood Her Ground in Tense U.S. Open Win

Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images

On Monday night, Coco Gauff reminded tennis fans why she’s a favorite to take home this year’s U.S. Open title. Despite losing the first set to Laura Siegemund and having to slow down to play at Siegemund’s pace, Gauff kept her cool and rallied to beat the German player in a tense first-round match that lasted two hours and 51 minutes. Afterward, in her on-court interview, the 19-year-old told the crowd that the match was simply “slow.”

Fans laughed and cheered loudly at Gauff’s shady comment, as Siegemund’s pace had become a source of frustration for Gauff, her coaches, and the crowd. Throughout the match, the German player took her time between points and rarely seemed ready to play when Gauff was prepared to serve. Siegemund’s pace led some annoyed fans to shout “Time!” repeatedly from the stands as others pointed to their watches.

Gauff lost the first set 6-3, then pushed through to win the second set 6-2. During the third set, the umpire finally warned Siegemund about her timing. When Gauff went to serve during the final set, while leading 3-0, Siegemund raised her arms, suggesting that she wasn’t prepared for the serve — and that Gauff was playing too fast. Eventually, Gauff walked over to the umpire to express her frustration, saying, “She’s never ready when I’m serving. She went over to talk, like, four times. You only gave her a time violation once. How is this fair?” Commentator and former U.S. Open winner John McEnroe agreed, saying Gauff was “100 percent right.”

After the match, Siegemund said she was “disappointed” with the crowd’s response and thought the fans treated her like she was “a bad person.” Barack and Michelle Obama, who had been among Gauff’s supporters in the stands, met with the player after the match and gave her some advice. Gauff later told reporters that the former First Lady “said it’s good to speak up for myself. I think she was happy that I spoke up for myself today.”

Coco Gauff Stood Her Ground in Tense U.S. Open Win