She’s not quite John McEnroe, but Coco Gauff is making sure to advocate for herself.
The 19-year-old tennis star was caught up in a controversy amid her opening match at the US Open earlier this week against Laura Siegemund.
The German qualifier and Gauff both had heated exchanges with the umpire Marijana Veljovic after the extended amount of time each took between points.
Gauff pointed out that while she was following the rules, Siegemund ignored the clock’s prompts several times.
“She’s never ready when I’m serving, she went over the clock like four times, you gave her a time violation once, how is this fair?” she told Veljovic mid-match before approaching her again. “I’m going a normal speed. Ask any ref here, I go a medium-paced speed.”
Gauff thought that if she was serving, she should be ready once the ball flew over the net.
“I don’t care what she’s doing on her serve, but on my serve she has to be ready,” Gauff explained.
As Gauff pleaded her case, the crowd at Queens’ Arthur Ashe Stadium erupted in applause, admiring that she spoke up.
After a slow start, Gauff defeated Siegemund, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4, to move on to the second round.
After the match, Gauff gave Siegemund her props for making it a tough battle while the German star felt it was unfair that the crowd openly rooted against her and cheered for her mistakes.
Part of the crowd at the stadium included former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. Gauff was surprised because she was initially only expecting the former First Lady, but was happy when she applauded the young star for speaking up for herself.
“She did say it’s good to speak up for myself,” Gauff said Michelle Obama told her. “So I think she was happy that I spoke up for myself today.”
See how social media reacted to Gauff’s fuming interaction with the umpire below.
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