19-Year-Old American Phenom Wins One Of Tennis’ Biggest Tournaments

Cori Dionne “Coco” Gauff won her first Grand Slam title Saturday at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City.

Gauff, 19, beat Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, 25, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to become the third American teenager to win the U.S. Open since Serena Williams won it both as a 17- and a 19-year-old. Tracy Williams won it at only 16-years-old.

Gauff showed extensive court coverage and defensive skill in the first set but succumbed to Sabalenka 2-6. Her opening salvo in the second set, however, heralded a comeback, and Gauff won 6-3. The final set witnessed an emotional end as Gauff slumped on the court upon seeing Aryna could not return her winning groundstroke.

Coco received a check of $3 million at the trophy ceremony.

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of…… @usopen pic.twitter.com/Zgx3mRAFkc

— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) September 10, 2023

Brian Hainline, the United States TennisAssociation (USTA) president, announced Sabalenka as the women’s No. 1 tennis player in the world.

“Coco, you are the embodiment of a true American champion, and congratulations on winning your first Grand Slam title,” Hainline said to Gauff.

Hainline also recognized the 39-time Grand Slam champion, Billie Jean King. “Fifty years ago, the U.S. Open followed your lead, and we became the first major sporting event in the world to offer equal prize money to men and women,” Hainline said to King. (RELATED: Tennis Legend Rips Shirt In Two After Winning Major Tournament)

Sabalenka congratulated Gauff, saying, “You played unbelievable [sic], congrats to you and your team.”

Hear from the champ 🏆 👇 pic.twitter.com/NBgAyJqz3c

— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 10, 2023

Gauff said winning her first Grand Slam title on home soil meant so much to her, especially after her French Open loss. “God puts you through tribulations and trials and this makes this moment even more sweeter [sic] than I can imagine,” she said. She praised Sabalenka for being “a nice person behind the scenes.” She thanked her parents, saying, “Today was the first time I’ve ever seen my dad cry.”

Gauff also thanked “the people who didn’t believe in me,” adding that they were putting gas rather than water into her fire. She also thanked her team and the fans.

The USTA announced it would invest $3 million in a legacy project to refurbish public courts across the country in honor of Gauff‘s triumph.