US teenager Coco Gauff said she planned to cheer on Serena Williams from the stands after sweeping into the second round of the US Open on Monday. Gauff, one of a crop of African-American players who cite Williams as the inspiration for their career, made short work of defeating France’s Leolia Jeanjean 6-2, 6-3 in her first round match. But while most players would be hustling back to their luxury Manhattan hotels for rest and recuperation, Gauff revealed after her victory she was going to hang around to catch Williams later Monday in what could be her final Grand Slam match. Williams has signalled she plans to retire after this year’s US Open.
The 18-year-old Gauff had initially decided to watch Williams’ first round match on television, but changed her mind after her victory on Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday.
“As I thought about it, I was, like, ‘I have to watch.’ I’m excited and, you know, it’s not often we watch live matches, to be honest,” Gauff said.
“But for Serena, of course, but everything she’s done in her career, I don’t know that this will be her final match or not.
“I hope not. I hope that she wins and that she keeps going. In general, either way, everything that she’s done, I’m sure it’s going to be an emotional night for everyone.
“I have been coming to the US Open since I was eight years old, every year, haven’t missed a year. Went from watching to playing, which is cool … So then I was like this is her final match. I feel like eight-year-old me would want to see this. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Williams’ influence on Gauff’s style could be seen in her demolition job on Jeanjean, as she used a formidable service game and powerful groundstrokes to overwhelm the Frenchwoman.
Gauff clinched victory with a break of serve in the second set, converting match point when she bludgeoned a forehand down the line after stranding Leolia on the opposite of the court.
Gauff lost only two points on her first serve during an impressive display which was also her first win in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
“Anytime you can win a match it’s a good day,” Gauff said. “I was nervous coming into today but once the nerves settled I was having a lot of fun out there.
“I didn’t even know that I lost only two points on first serve. Sometimes I just try to hit it as hard as I can.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Topics mentioned in this article