After 19-year-old Coco Gauff secured her first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open on Sept. 9, tennis icon Serena Williams took to Instagram to congratulate the rising star. On Saturday, Williams, 41, showered the Delray Beach, Florida native with love in her Instagram Stories after her historic win.
“Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!! Amazing!!!!!!!! @cocogauff,” the mother of two captioned a photo of the star holding her first Grand Slam trophy tall and proud, according to a screenshot obtained by The BF_Daily.
Honored by the love from Williams, Gauff reposted the tennis titan’s sweet tribute with a caption that read, “The queen. Thank you. Only possible because of you.”
Gauff also received a shoutout from Williams’ older sister, Venus, whom she beat in the 2019 Wimbledon championship. After TODAY posted a video of co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb chatting with the newfound US Open winner on YouTube, Venus commented, “Congrats, Coco
On Saturday, the young teen wowed the audience at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, Queens, where she defeated Belarus native Aryna Sabalenka 6-2 during the last set. Gauff became the youngest woman to win the esteemed tournament since Serena’s historic 1999 feat. At the time, the 23-time Grand Slam champion was 17 when she landed her first US Open title.
During the hard-fought match, Gauff took some time to find her rhythm and stride during the first set. Struggling to keep up with Sabalenka, the tennis star lost 3-6 during the first round, but she didn’t back down.
The Wimbledon champ came back with a vengeance during the second set, running circles around her opponent. Gauff won 6-3 and finished strong with her 6-2 win during the final round.
After her historic victory, the young beauty fell to the ground in tears as she celebrated the long-awaited feat. Video footage captured the star hugging her family in the bleachers as they tearfully celebrated the astounding game.
Gauff called Serena Williams her “idol.”
On Sept. 7, after defeating Karolina Muchová and securing her spot in the US Open final, Gauff was asked if she was “taking the torch” from Serena, who retired from tennis in 2022. Humble and poised, the young athlete took the opportunity to give flowers to the all-star, someone she considers to be her “idol.”
“Serena is Serena. She’s the GOAT,” Gauff said, beaming bright post-game. “I’d hope to do half of what she did. But I’m not going to compare myself to her. She’s someone I looked up to.”
She continued, “Being in the same stat line as her means a lot to me. She’s my idol, and I think the only regret I’ll have for the rest of my life is not being able to play her. There were so many tournaments where if we won an extra round or didn’t lose, I would’ve played her. But I’m still happy to just be a product of her legacy and be out here.”
Gauff joins a long list of Black titans who have made legendary strides in the tennis world. In 1956, tennis icon Althea Gibson became the first African-American woman to win a Grand Slam title at the French Open. The legend secured two more Grand Slam titles at the US Open– one in 1957 and another in 1958.
Sloane Stephens secured her first win in 2017 after defeating fellow American Madison Keys in a tough match. A year later, Naomi Osaka snagged the US Open title in 2018. Her second win came in 2020. She also has two Australian Open titles underneath her belt.
Together, the Williams sisters conquered the tennis court. Over the course of their career, they secured 14 women’s doubles as Grand Slam partners and three Olympic gold medals as doubles teammates, according to ESPN. Before leaving the sport, Serena garnered 23 Grand Slam singles titles. Venus secured seven.
At a post-game press conference Saturday, Gauff paid homage to all of the trailblazers that came before her.
“It’s an honor to be in that stat with Althea Gibson, Serena, Venus, Naomi, and Sloane. They paved the way for me to be here,” she said. “I remember Sloane winning this trophy in 2017. I had lost in the finals of the Junior US Open, and it was an inspiring moment for me to see her win because I grew up watching her, and I’ve known Sloane since I was 10 years old. “
Gauff added, “Obviously, Serena and Venus, words can’t describe what they’ve meant to me. I hope I’m continuing a legacy. I hope another girl can see this and believe they can do it. Hopefully, their name can be on this trophy, too.”
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