SportsCoco Gauff entertains, inspires Black supporters in Atlanta exhibition (photos)

Coco Gauff entertains, inspires Black supporters in Atlanta exhibition (photos)

Coco Gauff prepares to serve during an exhibition match at the 2023 Atlanta Open at Atlantic Station (Photo credit: Rashad Milligan for rolling out)
Coco Gauff stopped by one of her favorite cities for an exhibition match at the 2023 Atlanta Open on July 24  at Atlantic Station. The 19-year-old lived in Atlanta until the third grade.
Before the match, Gauff and actress Storm Reid teamed up to announce the transformation of East Atlanta’s Brownwood Park.“Atlanta’s where I first found out that I loved tennis,” Gauff said at the ceremony, according to a video recap she uploaded. “It was in Lakewood Park where I started tennis. The most important thing about doing this is the community behind it. It’s important that we pour into our community, pour into the future of kids around the country and around the world.”

Can’t wait to see Brownwood Park transform over the next year 💚 Thank you to the city of Atlanta, the Mayor’s office, @eastatlantakids and NB for a great day helping us create a space for the next generation of dreamers. #dreambig @stormreid pic.twitter.com/Taa19m4mWm
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) July 23, 2023

Earlier in the weekend, she supported her little brother at his football game in the city before her match.“I get a lot of support here, especially from the Black community,” Gauff told 11 Alive reporter Reggie Chatman Jr. “Seeing how many girls, and especially young girls, get uplifted just by seeing me. Not even playing, whether I’m just walking around or anything. It’s really cool to see, and I think Atlanta’s one of my favorite cities in the world and I always try to come.”
The exhibition between her and 20-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez didn’t feel like a tennis match as much as it felt like a Southern Baptist church on a Sunday evening. As the match went on, fans began engaging in a call-and-response with Gauff between points.
“You got it!” fans would yell at Gauff, who eventually fought off the urge not to smile, acknowledging the comments. “You got it, baby! Let’s go!”
In the middle of the second set, Gauff began taking requests of what she should do from the attendees. One of the distinguished guests she interacted with was Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. Other notable attendees included members of the Atlanta Dream, like Rhyne Howard, Allisha Gray, Naz Hillmon, Laeticia Amihere, Monique Billings, Haley Jones, Danielle Robinson and Iliana Rupert. Atlanta native and recent Wimbeldeon Cinderella story Chris Eubanks and Atlanta Falcons legend Roddy White were also in attendance.
As the blazing sun set and the court lights came on, Gauff cruised through the match with her long-time peer, Fernandez.
“I’ve been playing with Leylah for a long time,” Gauff said in her post-match on-court interview. “It’s great to see her come up and me as well. Her family are really good people.”
The Atlanta Open is a weeklong event and continues through July 30.


Source: Rolling Out

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